Author Topic: Al Emmo & the Lost Dutchman's Mine Enhanced  (Read 47856 times)

Shane 'ProgZmax' Stevens

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Re: Al Emmo and the Lost Dutchman's Mine goes gold
« Reply #60 on: 23 Sep 2006, 18:05 »
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Correct me if I'm wrong but I bet you don't like new games because you're no good at them.

Correct me if I'm wrong but what the Sam Hill does that have to do with anything?  The more you post, the less sense you make and the more you devolve into childish insults, so I suggest you keep them to yourself as this is not the place for it; in fact, this forum is not the place for it.  If you want to consider this game beneath you then do so by all means, but at least have some kind of rationale that makes sense, not a bunch of poppycock about it being dated just because it uses 2D backgrounds and such. 

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You didn't answer my question correctly, I said no one would play Al Elmo if it was in ASCII characters. I did not say no one plays any video games with ASCII questions.

Didn't I, though?  You wrote:

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I also seriously doubt you would say anything good about Al Elmo if the graphics were ASCII characters.


And my response is that many people (myself included) are far more concerned with the direction and story than they are with shiny things.  This is why I said Roguelikes (ASCII rpgs) are intensely popular to this day.  Not that your comparison makes sense, but if Al Emmo was designed as an ASCII game and had interesting/fun gameplay elements I would have many good things to say about it!
If you'd like to continue this discussion further, by all means pm me as I'm interested to read more of your reasoning, but this really isn't the place for it.

Also, it's Al Emmo not Al Elmo.  Elmo lives on Sesame Street, not in Anozira. :)


AGD2

Re: Al Emmo and the Lost Dutchman's Mine goes gold
« Reply #61 on: 23 Sep 2006, 20:01 »
Wow, lots of stuff here. :o Okay, first off, the reason for the $30 price tag is because that's the lowest price we could realistically offer a tangible version for (i.e. CD, case, packaged extras etc.) while still making some kind of profit. The fulfilment house takes a percentage of every sale, as does the online merchant facility (in this case, PayPal). Additionally, this was one of those titles in which we encountered 'development hell' and the game was in development much longer than we ever intended.

Trust me, we're well aware of some of the obvious shortcomings (mostly with the 3D side of things) and this was due to a few unreliable contractors we hired who charged way too much for the shoddy work they turned in. I ended up having to take a crash course in 3D Studio Max to finish up what should have been completed adequately by them. As a result, we went overtime and over budget, which is regrettable. At the same time development of this game was going on 3.5 years and we needed to finish it by a deadline. Even so, I think the 3D cutscenes in Al Emmo are more detailed than those of Sierra's most recent adventure game, Gabriel Knight 3. So that's got to count for something.

There are quite a few things that we'll be including in a post-mortem about how to do certain things more efficiently on any future game projects that we develop.  However, I think these little issues are very minor in light of what the full game has to offer. At the end of the day, we simply don't have the funding of a multi-million dollar company and we did the best we could within our limited budget to make the game as polished as we possibly could. 

I also think it's an inaccurate statement to insinuate that, because there are some minor errors/issues in perspective or whatnot, a game cannot be held to a professional standard. Companies have been getting away with this for decades. Look at Sierra's games of the 90's. Most of them were riddled with fatal bugs. Many Sierra games also had noticeable perspective errors in their backgrounds and scenes were often left unpolished with gaping holes in the coding. Some events not even handled at all.

Yet, these Sierra games were considered professional because they were released by a multi-million dollar company and designed by pre-established designers. Do riches and reputation honestly trump fatal crashes when it comes to professionalism in the eyes of consumers? I certainly hope not!  Furthermore, point out ANY game (Keepsake, CMI, GTA:San Andreas... even HL2) and I could mention any number of similar issues or errors in artwork/perspective/animation. These are games and such issues are a given, regardless of budget; whether it be bugs, graphics, animations, voices -- every game has some minor quirks.

I think you'll find Al Emmo to be far more stable than any Sierra release. And any minor perspective errors in Al Emmo's backgrounds are no more noticeable than those in classic Sierra games.  Nobody starts off as a professional in any field. The only way to get there is through hard work and practice. Every professional was once a rookie too. At some point, if you do want to attempt a commercial endeavour, you need to just try it, take the feedback in stride, and try to use any criticisms as a basis to improve your work. People aren't born professionals, they only get there through practice, learning from mistakes, and a lot of experience.

Earlier in this thread, I noticed the discussion about how money paid to us for Al Emmo would/would not help other indie game developers and the community in general.  If it counts for anything, a percentage of each copy of Al Emmo sold is being donated to Chris Jones.  There's also a vast amount of talent in this community and some people have done amazing things with the AGS engine and pushed it beyond its normal limits. If we ever made enough money from Himalaya Studios to sustain this as a viable business, I'd love to be able pay/donate/employ people in the AGS community for custom work or the use of their modules/plug-ins etc.

The adventure gaming community, as I see it, is a self-sustaining one, but the genre does need support and encouragment to be able to survive in the commercial arena. If even adventure gamers themselves start becoming overly cynical at any commercial attempt because it costs too much or because it doesn't have the same polish as a multi-million dollar title, then yes, they will porobably buy games like HL2, and this will assist the FPS genre to flourish. There's nothing wrong with that, I bought HL2 myself.  But most adventure development companies are not as large as Vivendi/Valve and you can't expect those kind of results from something like an AGS adventure game! It all comes down to supporting the genre so that it will be able to offer you bigger and better things in the future.  There will be little hope for the genre's commercial survival if we all expected HL2 quality adventure games, but were not willing to support potential developers so that they could reach that level of expertise to make such an adventure game.

I haven't played the demo of the Shivah yet, but I will gladly buy it for the very reasons I just mentioned. I'll support the adventure gaming community by (re)making free games, by making commercial games, and supporting other commercial indie games. Because that's what I'm passionate about. I want to see this genre rise again and I'll put my money where my mouth is to prove it.

Bottom line: We're not charging $30 because we're greedy. We're charging that much because we need to break-even and make some profit from three years of non-stop work. We had to weigh many factors into the final decision on price and such a decision wasn't reached quickly or easily. Every imaginable aspect was considered thoroughly.

Finally, there will actually be a downloadable version of Al Emmo available soon for around $20 USD. By offering it as a download, we're able make it cheaper price since there's no packaging or media to deal with.

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Re: Al Emmo and the Lost Dutchman's Mine goes gold
« Reply #62 on: 23 Sep 2006, 20:11 »
Since AGD2 has explained why the game costs $30, I have no need to discuss about this any further.

Re: Al Emmo and the Lost Dutchman's Mine goes gold
« Reply #63 on: 24 Sep 2006, 00:32 »
Ok, I finished Al Emmo a few days ago, and here is my review:

Pros:
-The game was sooo funny ;D A lot of situations the poor Al Emmo has to resolve are hilarious, expecially:
Spoiler: ShowHide
-the guy declaring a war against termites (weapons of mass destruction!!) ;D
-Al Emmo dressed as a prostitute, and his first work is...BWAHAHA *dies laughing* I didn't know if I would laugh or get sick ;D ;D
 

-Even doing the wrong thing is funny: if you show any of your object to any of the characters, said character will have some hilarious thing to say. When I got stuck at certain point in the game I would pass the time that way ;D. Even looking/interacting with things that really don't seem clickable would result in something funny happening
-The puzzles were hard sometimes, but never completely random...in certain points I felt very proud when resolving them 8) (but maybe you guys prefer extra-hard puzzles? Everyone has their own tastes)
-Chapter nine has a really original type of game play. I won't spoil you anything, just trust me on this one.
-Me+ the Narrator= love. Will he return for the next game? :=

Cons:
-As someone else has pointed out, ther are some problems with graphics. Each character has FOUR different representation: 1)Portrait 2)In-Game 3)2D cutscenes 4)3D cutscenes. The representation of Al Emmo is pretty consistent, but other chars look different in each representation (ex. the mayor: his portrait is completely different from any of his other representation! Or Rita, which seems always different)

Re: Al Emmo and the Lost Dutchman's Mine goes gold
« Reply #64 on: 24 Sep 2006, 00:48 »

Finally, there will actually be a downloadable version of Al Emmo available soon for around $20 USD. By offering it as a download, we're able make it cheaper price since there's no packaging or media to deal with.

That's interesting. Count me on that one, for sure. Any idea when will it be available?

Re: Al Emmo and the Lost Dutchman's Mine goes gold
« Reply #65 on: 24 Sep 2006, 01:43 »
Furthermore, point out ANY game (Keepsake, CMI, GTA:San Andreas... even HL2) and I could mention any number of similar issues or errors in

i'm pointing out CMI's art, animation, voices, perspective, consistency, dialogue writing, etc.  ;D

« Last Edit: 24 Sep 2006, 01:48 by Mordalles »

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Re: Al Emmo and the Lost Dutchman's Mine goes gold
« Reply #66 on: 24 Sep 2006, 01:57 »
$20.00 is a good price for downloading . I would buy it then.

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Re: Al Emmo and the Lost Dutchman's Mine goes gold
« Reply #67 on: 24 Sep 2006, 02:49 »
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Finally, there will actually be a downloadable version of Al Emmo available soon for around $20 USD. By offering it as a download, we're able make it cheaper price since there's no packaging or media to deal with.

If you'd said that sooner none of us would have complained as much as we did :) I can understand it's expensive to produce a game in a physical form, but that's why the digital medium is there. I'm glad to see you're embracing that, and giving us the game for a reasonable price (because honestly, I'd rather download the game and play as soon as my connection allows me to than wait for a long while to get a cd/dvd which I'll either lose or which will get scratches on it or just plain break ;))

Kudos to you, my qualms with the game are resolved, and I shall purchase it.

Also, by the way, kudos for your well-written response, which adressed many of the issues raised in this thread. I noticed from your writing that you do understand the skepticism, and then I noticed there were good reasons for what was causing said skepticism. Good job :)
Still here.

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Re: Al Emmo and the Lost Dutchman's Mine goes gold
« Reply #68 on: 27 Sep 2006, 23:00 »
Yes, the graphics were very inconsistent, the most disastrous graphical fault of the game is, I think, the 3d/ingame representation of Rita. I was utterly confused when I first saw Rita in 3d, she looks horribly crude and overweight there, and couldn't help but wonder what it was that kept all these folks out there so riveted to her, physical-wise. In the portrait she does indeed look fantastic however. I think graphics is the only real fault one could point out in Al Emmo, seeing as both the plot and the voiceovers(as far as I am concerned) are way over average. It is however not the result of incompentence or laziness from the designers but, as has been stated, the consequence of a rather unfortunate turn of events which imposed serious financial and staff limitations on the team.

Insane

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Re: Al Emmo and the Lost Dutchman's Mine goes gold
« Reply #69 on: 28 Sep 2006, 13:50 »
What's the deal with the export file after the game is completed? Even if there are further Al Emmo games, what purpose would the thing serve?

AGD2

Re: Al Emmo and the Lost Dutchman's Mine goes gold
« Reply #70 on: 31 Oct 2006, 06:03 »
Well, the purpose of the savegame file is similar to the way it worked in the Quest for Glory series, except instead of recording stats, it will record all of the game variables, globalints, inv items etc. 

If we do a sequel, then the savefile will be used in some way to tailor the storytelling experience to the unique way that the player played through the game. For example, (spoiler ahead) it always bothered me in QFG1 how you could kill the Baronet and not find Elsa, but in subsequent QFG titles, the games always presumed that you played QFG1 by following the most optimal path and took the liberty of mentioning how you saved the Baron's children, when you may well not have! In QFG 5, Elsa even mentions that her brother is still alive. (end spoilers)

So with the savegame file, we're hoping to tailor the narrative and perhaps some of the puzzles and accessible areas/characters/items in future games to the way the player specifically played through the previous game. It's a bit experimental at this stage, however, and would likely involve quite a bit of work. But the idea is to provide some additional replay value that spans the entire series and where, for example, your choices in game 1 may affect the outcome of a character's fate in game 4. Basically, it's intended to be a non-typical experiment in making an adventure series less linear... almost like one of those "Choose your own Adventure" books.

In another update, a downloadable version of Al Emmo has now been released via TellTale Games' online distribution system. It's available for the lower price of $19.99 and the download version also contains both subtitled and un-subtitled cutscenes, which wouldn't fit on the CD. It also contains a few minor bug fixes. You can get it here:

http://telltalegames.com/alemmo

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Re: Al Emmo and the Lost Dutchman's Mine goes gold
« Reply #71 on: 31 Oct 2006, 12:36 »
I just want to say that I think it's a bit insulting to just about everyone here (or maybe it's just me) when you say things like "fans of the adventure genre have been neglected for far too long". I mean, we're all here, using AGS, keeping adventure games alive for those who want it. In fact I honestly believe that the true golden age of the adventure genre is here and now. It's in the hands of those that truly love it, completely free from vapid commercialism. True, certain games can be more successful than others but you can really feel the passion here. Not to mention all the new and exciting ways people are coming up with creating games (including your own very intriguing game-continuation-system-thingy) - ways that the likes of LucasArts and Sierra never bothered to dream of, which is I think what caused the demise of commercially successful adventure games. Stagnation.

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Re: Al Emmo and the Lost Dutchman's Mine goes gold
« Reply #72 on: 31 Oct 2006, 16:30 »
When I read it, I was not insulted. I read it more like that they are really excited about their product. Sure, I understand your points which are valid, but thier excitement may only be the reason for making the claim and of course I'm sure they are in no way meaning to insult the online adventure creating community. To take the step to release your game commercially, you've got to sell it, so I also read their claim as "purchasers of adventure games have been neglected..."
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Re: Al Emmo and the Lost Dutchman's Mine goes gold
« Reply #73 on: 31 Oct 2006, 20:54 »
I am very very curious, and I know I'm asking for spoilers - but what exactly in Al Emmo could differ enough to warrant a new storyline? Is the game less linear than it seems? It sure looks fairly linear, at least as far as what you mean is concerned.
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Re: Al Emmo and the Lost Dutchman's Mine goes gold
« Reply #74 on: 01 Nov 2006, 02:14 »
Yeah I guess I understand the excitement thing, and that they're trying to sell their product. It was just a line that bothered me, especially considering where it's been posted. Come to think of it, I don't think anybody but adventure gamers would play this game, so again, it seems rather unneccessary (unless they are completely unaware of the amateur movement). Anyway, considering the content of everyone else's posts here I guess I was the only one bothered.

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Re: Al Emmo and the Lost Dutchman's Mine goes gold
« Reply #75 on: 01 Nov 2006, 03:03 »
I agree with you. Writing a blurb tailored for this site wouldn't have taken too long.
Still waiting for Purity of the Surf II

Erpy

Re: Al Emmo and the Lost Dutchman's Mine goes gold
« Reply #76 on: 02 Nov 2006, 09:46 »
Quote
I just want to say that I think it's a bit insulting to just about everyone here (or maybe it's just me) when you say things like "fans of the adventure genre have been neglected for far too long". I mean, we're all here, using AGS, keeping adventure games alive for those who want it. In fact I honestly believe that the true golden age of the adventure genre is here and now. It's in the hands of those that truly love it, completely free from vapid commercialism. True, certain games can be more successful than others but you can really feel the passion here. Not to mention all the new and exciting ways people are coming up with creating games (including your own very intriguing game-continuation-system-thingy) - ways that the likes of LucasArts and Sierra never bothered to dream of, which is I think what caused the demise of commercially successful adventure games. Stagnation.

No, it's not just you. The complaint "how about acknowledging us too?" has appeared more often around here. But our press release isn't meant to claim the monopoly on influencing the state of the genre. The philosophy behind the press release is this:

Yes, there's plenty of other people making games here. No question about that. Some get more public attention than others. But what makes Al Emmo relatively unique is the fact that it's commercial. Which means it has a budget and sales figures. Does that make a difference? It does if you think outside of the "games for gamers"-box. According to the philosophy of our team, it's not just gamers who play an important role in the status of the genre, but also publishers. They're the ones who can get games out of the tight circle of hard-core fans and out to the more casual gamer. I don't think anybody will argue against the fact that increased trust of publishers in the genre and classic style is a good thing. Thing is...publishers tend to be tempted to shrug free games off. Just because your free game got downloaded a large amount of times doesn't mean a publisher's going to give it a moment's notice. But if an adventure in the classic style has significant sales figures as backup, it WILL turn heads and publishers will be more willing to acknowledge the style and the genre.

Try to read the press release in this particular light (i.e: not just aimed at getting hardcore gamers'  attention, but also publishers') and you might perceive the press statement to be not nearly as arrogant/insulting as you thought at first.

« Last Edit: 02 Nov 2006, 09:50 by Erpy »

Re: Al Emmo and the Lost Dutchman's Mine goes gold
« Reply #77 on: 03 Nov 2006, 21:47 »
In another update, a downloadable version of Al Emmo has now been released via TellTale Games' online distribution system. It's available for the lower price of $19.99 and the download version also contains both subtitled and un-subtitled cutscenes, which wouldn't fit on the CD. It also contains a few minor bug fixes. You can get it here: http://telltalegames.com/alemmo

Just bought it and installed. Actually, that was my first game-related online purchase. It went pretty smooth, actually. If anyone is thinking in buying the game online and wonders how the process is, here it goes:  the download stopped and I had to restart it again, but no really a problem, the speed was really fast. Then, a surprise. After the installattion the game did not start right away (I supossed that should have been the way because I remembered a Himalaya staff member saying in this forum that there was no copy-protection in the game) but I had to go to through an online activation process through the telltalegames system. The activation failed a couple of times but finally worked ok. I think this means that if I ever want to reinstall the game I will have to go through this process again, right? Actually, I don't like that idea very much because it might be the case that in the future I might not have internet access  or   even telltale games might discontinue its web services.
But don't get me wrong, all in all, the process was fine and I would certainly reccomend it if you are interested in the game

And by the way, just started to play but already noticed some differences with the original demo, like "exit" signals in each screen when you move the pointer to those areas, nice touch.

Serth

Erpy

Re: Al Emmo and the Lost Dutchman's Mine goes gold
« Reply #78 on: 03 Nov 2006, 22:27 »
The version on CD does not contain an activation process, but downloadable versions do. Our online partners use these types of activation procedures a lot and since they get part of the profit, they're also free to add copy protections to them.

I'm glad to hear you've managed to install the game and I'm sorry to hear about the initial issues with the download and unwrapping process. I wouldn't worry too much about your game becoming unusable if Telltale would drop out...they use activation processes in several of their other games and have a policy that would safeguard the products of their customers in such a scenario.


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Re: Al Emmo and the Lost Dutchman's Mine goes gold
« Reply #79 on: 03 Nov 2006, 22:41 »
Hmm..I still wonder:
will these games ever be on the shelves at stores?
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