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Author Topic: The Samaritan Paradox  (Read 27421 times)

Andail

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Re: The Samaritan Paradox
« Reply #40 on: 23 Apr 2014, 14:09 »
Hehe, thanks everyone for your... bug reports!
And also some kind words :)

Grundislav:
(This contains massive spoilers, so only read if you've finished the game)
Spoiler: ShowHide

Thanks, your c&c about the ending is very valid. Lots of people have reacted on it, with mixed feelings. The current ending is the result of some compromising, so it might come across as a bit unconventional.

Initially, I wanted the ending to be even more abrupt, with Ord either dying, or simply going back to his previous life with nothing altered; no closure, no changes at all.

I wanted there to be a tangible difference between the dramatic showdown ending of the fairy-tale, and how the real world works - mundane and anti-climactic. My very first idea was that Ord should die, but live on in the book world, in the way literary characters become immortalized in the text (referencing Shakespeare and the sonnet Shall I compare thou[...]). But then the game became gradually more oriented toward guilt and sin, and less about mortality, so that ending wouldn't make sense.

However, testers didn't want a sad/non-climax ending, so I had to put something good there. At least now Ord gets to sacrifice himself, preventing Sara from learning the truth. And we get a glimpse of a better future - going away with Sara, the rain stopping...

A realistic ending is one where there isn't a perfect closure - you don't always get all questions answered. That's why I deliberately threw in plot elements that never get addressed properly, like Magnus and his dinner date, and what's in the cellar, and if Jonatan would have killed himself anyway, and is suppressing childhood memories really the way to deal with your past, will Sara even feel better for it?

At one point Ord says "I feel like I'm just being given more questions", when he's supposed to attain some sort of clarity.

I wanted to foreshadow the ending a bit by repeatedly have Sara ask if Ord found anything weird about the book, and she even said she was afraid of what it might contain. I know the revelation is still so abrupt it borders on the absurd (soap opera-ish, even), but hey, that's how well I managed to write it into the story :) It turned out harder than I thought, handling such delicate and mature themes...


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Re: The Samaritan Paradox
« Reply #41 on: 23 Apr 2014, 16:21 »
A bit of plot feedback, if you're at all curious:

Spoiler: ShowHide
I was initially extremely uncomfortable at the dishonesty of Ord's chosen course of action at the very end, and it seemed like a terrible solution to the problem. What saved it from becoming a tasteless, paper thin fairytale ending, for me, was the fact that Sara teases Ord for his writing. That little moment immediately set me at ease a bit - that the story was ending with Sara having some idea of what transpired, and the fact that Ord was keeping the truth from her because he believed he was protecting her was, if not obvious, then suggested to her. Nice touch, that, you saved it from becoming an ending that I didn't like at all, and turned it into something I felt was quite fitting for the story.

Re: The Samaritan Paradox
« Reply #42 on: 24 Apr 2014, 18:05 »
Congrats on the release!
Will make a purchase in the near future.

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Re: The Samaritan Paradox
« Reply #43 on: 24 Apr 2014, 18:26 »
Unfortunately my Inventory bar at the bottom is always visible :/ and when I hover over it it slides up well over the screen? Anyone know how to fix this?

Andail

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Re: The Samaritan Paradox
« Reply #44 on: 24 Apr 2014, 19:07 »
Unfortunately my Inventory bar at the bottom is always visible :/ and when I hover over it it slides up well over the screen? Anyone know how to fix this?

Never got this reported to me and never experienced it either, so I have no idea I'm afraid. Simply restarting the game won't help? Otherwise you'll just have to toy around with settings and drivers and stuff. But I'll note it down for further bug fixing, thanks!

Ben:
Spoiler: ShowHide

You're quite right that Sara probably knew darn well what the book was all about, but that she hoped there'd be a reward in there as well. She wouldn't be so hesitant to read it otherwise, and she would have questioned Ord's decision to rewrite it. Now they just agreed that Jonatan's own ending sucked, without going into specifics.

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Re: The Samaritan Paradox
« Reply #45 on: 26 Apr 2014, 07:47 »
I havent finished it yet, but gahd damn I am loving it :D Gabriel Knight meets The Ninth Gate

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Re: The Samaritan Paradox
« Reply #46 on: 26 Apr 2014, 11:27 »
I'm playing it right now.
Great Game! REALLY good work!
I really appreciate that it was localized in several languages †‹†‹from the very first release. I'm really loving the story.

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Re: The Samaritan Paradox
« Reply #47 on: 26 Apr 2014, 19:46 »
Just played through the intro. It's so cool to see how you responded to some of the feedback on the demo; having some idea of who Ord is and how he got involved in this affair motivates me a lot more as a player. (Plus the sings of depression and a picture torn down with force hint at interesting things in his backstory.) Looking forward to seeing how it continues!

Bug report:
Spoiler: ShowHide
during the opening conversation with Sara in the Bergwall home, there would be a blip of music any time there was an animation between the dialogue, and then immediate silence while people were speaking.
« Last Edit: 26 Apr 2014, 19:49 by Snarky »

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Re: The Samaritan Paradox
« Reply #48 on: 27 Apr 2014, 23:00 »
OK, just finished it. Congratulations on the release, Andail! It's very impressive work, particularly for a one-person project. I definitely hope to see more from you in the future. (I had to go look in the db to see that you'd even done any AGS games before -- apparently they were mostly before my time.)

In terms of feedback... (There might be some very general spoilers here)

Praise:
-The graphics are very attractive, particularly the atmospheric backgrounds. There's a wide variety of scenes, and they're all convincingly depicted.
-Lots of solid puzzles, well balanced to be neither too easy nor too difficult. I only got really frustrated a couple of times. You've also come up with a story where some of the more preposterous adventure game logic makes sense (or close enough).
-I think the story is for the most part well told, and you've managed to mix in the different elements surprisingly well (e.g. the conspiracy/thriller component).
-As I mentioned in the post above, I really like how you introduce Ord. I think with the gradually revealed but tastefully backgrounded backstory, how he relates to others (giving him a friend to call just to chat was a great design decision) and how his character is written in general, he's very easy to like. I also like that he knows his own limitations and is happy to hand off certain tasks to others more qualified.
-I also love it in general when NPCs actually behave as people with their own agenda and intelligence, not just passive hotspots waiting for you to click on them. So it was cool that Sara was getting on with selling the estate and packing things up while you were investigating, showing up in different places and rooms. (Though it did seem a bit odd of her to try to have both things done at the same time.)
-The hide-and-seek sequence was properly tense and hard-boiled PI stuff. That felt to me like the climax of the game.
-Sweden! I like when a game is grounded in a real place and a real environment. Even thematically it felt "Swedish" in many ways. I would have enjoyed even more distinctive Gothenburgian details like the trams etc.

Criticism:
-The game didn't feel quite as polished as I think a commercial title ought to aim for. Nothing really big (that I came across), just a lot of small things that felt a bit off: a few glitchy walkbehinds, some awkwardness with the UI (for example, it's possible to have multiple inventory-item closeups on top of each other), missing responses to quite a lot of actions (e.g. if you click/rightclick on Ord, you get some boilerplate response, but if you click/rightclick on Freyja, nothing), hotspots awkwardly placed (sometimes so that the label was off-screen and therefore not visible, more often just too close to the inventory), that thing with music playing for a split second in the middle of conversations (which turned out to be a problem throughout the game), backgrounds that are just a bit larger than full-screen and therefore scroll slightly, as well as scrolling backgrounds with black bars that scroll as part of the screen, a few misspellings ("abbandoned" in one place), different voice actors pronouncing the same names differently (very noticeable with "Ithyn" in the finale), etc. etc.
-The ending was abrupt, yes. In my case, so abrupt that I wonder if there's a bug and I missed something:
Spoiler: ShowHide
After finishing Ch. 3 and not knowing what to do next, I decided to go look for Sara the last place I saw her: the cabin. There I run into Veronika, and out of nowhere accuse her of having murdered Jonatan, referring to photos I have absolutely no knowledge of. (I still don't know who "Max" is or what actually happened when Jonatan was killed.) Then shooting, and the game is over. Huh. There must be something missing, right?

-I question your color theory. Green + red = brown, dammit! (As a more general objection, how do you suppose the mixture gets lighter by adding more dye?)
-Oh yes. Swearing. So difficult to do right (both for the writer and the actors) so that it doesn't sound forced and artificial. I think you would have been better off omitting it, because IMO it doesn't quite work here.
-The voice acting was pretty variable, with a lot of good ones and a number that were... not so good. I hesitate to single out individual actors, but the guy playing the shopowner seemed to be in a completely different genre of game from most of the other voices. (I also found myself wondering why the inhabitants of a closed-off village all had different accents.)
-When all is said and done, I don't quite understand the point of Jonatan's secret book, what he was trying to express or why he was so keen on Sara reading it. It's not just that the ending is WTF-y, but that it doesn't seem to fit with the preceding narrative. This guy was a successful author, after all, and I would expect some internal logic to it. Some more/clearer symbolic or autobiographical links to his experiences and interests would also have helped make it seem like something this guy would actually write. As it stands, it feels more like you're just switching to a fantasy game world for a bit, Longest Journey-style.

Overall, definitely a game worth playing. Thanks for having made it!

Andail

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Re: The Samaritan Paradox
« Reply #49 on: 28 Apr 2014, 06:31 »
Hi Snarky, and thanks for your c&c!

Regarding the ending:
Spoiler: ShowHide

Yes, there seems to be a bug that permits the player to end the investigation prematurely, and still trigger the ending sequence. I'm working to fix this already.
I assume you have at least been presented the idea that Jonatan was murdered, since you've spoken to the detective (she's the only one who swears, afaik), and if you follow this up (by bringing it up with the shop owner, to start with) Ord will eventually find out who did it.
At least this will make the ending comprehensible :)

Re: The Samaritan Paradox
« Reply #50 on: 28 Apr 2014, 06:44 »
Finished the game a few days ago and really liked it! Lots of good-to-great puzzles - challenging, but not to the point of being frustrating or plain silly, and quite varied. Charming graphics, especially the stylish, yet grounded in reality Gothenburg locations are a pleasure to explore, and the dramatic multi-threaded plot, although not without its problems, kept things interesting and moving throughout the game and was generally pretty well constructed and, ehm, I don't want to use the word "fun", but yeah, fun. :)

All in all - an enjoyable and very decently-sized adventure of code-craking and accidental gonzo journalism, thanks and congratulations on the release! Hope to see more from you in the future! :) 

-The ending was abrupt, yes. In my case, so abrupt that I wonder if there's a bug and I missed something:
Spoiler: ShowHide
After finishing Ch. 3 and not knowing what to do next, I decided to go look for Sara the last place I saw her: the cabin. There I run into Veronika, and out of nowhere accuse her of having murdered Jonatan, referring to photos I have absolutely no knowledge of. (I still don't know who "Max" is or what actually happened when Jonatan was killed.) Then shooting, and the game is over. Huh. There must be something missing, right?

That is most definitely a bug, yeah - the ending is much less abrupt and awkward in its actual form. :) Also,
Spoiler: ShowHide
Sara's cautious questions about weird things in the book softened the "twist" in the end for me a fair bit, since it was pretty much what I was expecting. And I mean it in a good way, since it didn't feel quite as random as it might've been otherwise. Didn't expect it to be delivered as a plot-twist, though.
« Last Edit: 28 Apr 2014, 07:02 by Ilyich »

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Re: The Samaritan Paradox
« Reply #51 on: 28 Apr 2014, 14:00 »
Bug:
This happened after
Spoiler: ShowHide
the 'escaping the dragon's lair tower' cutscene.



Get down from there Ord! Sorry about that. There was a single other mention of this phenomena in the last few months but we couldn't reproduce it or find the cause. I wonder how your parameters differ to other players.. ???

I found a way to reproduce it:
Spoiler: ShowHide

When Freja is in the Dragon's cave: go on the Platform. When Freja is out, don't do nothing and go out from the book. Enter again the book.
You'll find Freja out of the cave. Click entrance. When Freja is inside the cave, don't do nothing and go again out from the book.
You'll find Ord in the air.

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Re: The Samaritan Paradox
« Reply #52 on: 28 Apr 2014, 14:09 »
Congratulations on the game and your release! I just purchased my copy, and will probably be getting to it soon... my games queue is large, but my time to play them is so limited these days! Haha!  Anyway, I'm always, always glad to see fellow AGSers making high quality games and taking the leap and risk to selling them!  Looking forward to it.


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Re: The Samaritan Paradox
« Reply #53 on: 05 May 2014, 17:41 »
Feel free to update your copy to v1.1 and you won't run into an early win-game bug anymore:
http://www.samaritanparadox.co.uk/updates/TheSamaritanParadox_UpdateTo1.1.exe

(Above file is for the DRM-free version. Steam update already made, Desura pending)

Save games are not affected, but also not necessarily effective to see the fix in effect. Loading a version 1.0 save game may still produce the error. Playing from the start will ensure you do not run into it.
« Last Edit: 05 May 2014, 17:44 by Mods »

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Re: The Samaritan Paradox
« Reply #54 on: 05 May 2014, 23:09 »
Enjoying the game, but a couple of issues to report:

Spoiler: ShowHide
After escaping the prison and talking to the guy in the nearby cottage, the game hangs if I press Escape. A missing Endcutscene?

If I run the game in DX9 with 3x nearest neighbour filter, the game window appears unscaled on a black screen, and I can see Ord's sprite standing outside of the viewport during the Screen 7 logo.

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Re: The Samaritan Paradox
« Reply #55 on: 06 May 2014, 13:04 »
Thanks for the notes Ali! Where will Ord appear unscheduled today?  (laugh)


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Re: The Samaritan Paradox
« Reply #57 on: 13 May 2014, 01:20 »
Finished it and really enjoyed it. Great work Andail!

Couple of issues:
Spoiler: ShowHide
Small one: While zoomed in on Ords bookshelf (Day 1), looking at the book in the inventory does not show it until you exit the shelf.

Reproduced crash/freeze: Opening the save gui (F5) while having the crane button gui open (in the warehouse), will freeze the game if you try to close the save gui again.
The game stops on line 4243 in global.asc.

Edit: I'm having snarkys' audio problem every  time speech plays, i.e. music goes silent. I thought it was a feature...:)
« Last Edit: 13 May 2014, 01:23 by StillInThe90s »

Andail

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Re: The Samaritan Paradox
« Reply #58 on: 13 May 2014, 08:40 »
Thanks, SITN :)
The audio goes completely silent during dialogues if you have lowered the volume to a certain level. AGS lowers the volume during speech in percentage points - i.e. not in percent - so if the volume has already been reduced enough it will reach zero. And that's not very pretty.

Next time I will definitely make sure that all the speech files are loud enough to be played without reducing the music volume at all. You live and learn.

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Re: The Samaritan Paradox
« Reply #59 on: 13 May 2014, 12:18 »
I'm enjoying the game so far, although there are several technical issues:
  • With normal settings, half of the GUI was always visible. We tried different settings, now we change the settings of the monitor itself. It's not perfect (still a bit squeezed) but at least we can use it.
  • Every time there is voice acting the music is suddenly turned off.
  • The character sprites look weird when being down-scaled. The resolutions don't match at all.

About the early win-game bug - how do I know if I (or my savegames respectively) am affected by it?