What kind of adventure do YOU want?

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Ragnar Tornquist

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Feb 14, 1997, 3:00:00 AM2/14/97
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I'm the producer and designer of an as-of-yet untitled graphic adventure
that's due out next year around this time from Funcom Oslo. We've
currently been in production since April of last year, and at this stage
the design is being finalised -- but we'd like YOUR input on what YOU want
to see in a graphic adventure, since you guys are our core audience, and
you're the ones we're aiming to please. So take a few minutes out to read
this message, and use this newsgroup to express your opinions! We'll be
paying close attention to what people want and don't want, and your voice
will be heard.

Our game, codenamed (rather unoriginally) 'X', is a graphic adventure in
the traditional 'King's Quest'/'Monkey Island' style - i.e. 3rd person
perspective, point-and-click interface - but with quite a few new twists
both in presentation and in content. The majority of the graphics will be
pre-rendered 3D-models in high-resolution and 65,000 colours, the
characters faces will be digitised from clay sculptures, and all animation
will be motion captured. We're aiming for a stylised "hyper-real" look
rather than the cartoony graphics of most current adventures, while
avoiding the cheesiness of video-captured actors against photographic or
drawn backgrounds (the "cut-and-paste" look). Also, rather than opting for
the single-cursor interface that has come to dominate the genre, we've
chosen to bring back the multi-icon interface in the shape of a floating,
transparent menu that appears wherever you click the right mouse-button.
You'll have a choice between five basic actions; eye, hand, mouth, foot
and active item.

As for the story, it's a lot more mature (not as in sex and violence,
though) and complex than in most recent graphic adventures, and we're
targetting the game for a slightly older audience (16 and above). The
typical comparison would be to the Vertigo line of comic books,
specifically those by Neil Gaiman; fantastic but believable, rooted in
mythology and religion, and populated with characters that, while often
strange and otherwordly, you can identify with. The core concept is that
of two worlds - one of logic, science and order, the other of magic, chaos
and dreams - and the cosmic Balance between the two. The main character is
a young woman, an art-student, with the talent to "Shift" between these
worlds. She is, of course, pulled into a situation where the fate of the
Balance is at stake, and where she must learn to use her latent talent to
put things right. Of course, things turn out to be a lot more complex than
what they seem -- but more on that another time :)

Here are some of the issues we'd like feedback on:

* Interface -- total freedom or ease of use? Is the single cursor the way
to go, or are multiple actions still preferable? How much feedback should
the game give you beyond the time-worn "I can't do that!"?

* Plot -- linearity versus simplicity. The more complex the story, the
more linear the plot, the less flexibility in solving the puzzles. What do
you prefer?

* Puzzles -- does complexity equal frustration? Are Myst-style "logic"
puzzles appropriate for a story-driven adventure, or should all puzzles
closely follow the plot? Object-puzzles (find this object, give it to that
person, receive another object) versus knowledge-puzzles (talk to this
person, get information and ask another character about that).

* Interaction -- should the player be able to examine and manipulate
everything, or does that just make things difficult and overwhelming?
Should all characters have a story to tell?

* Graphics -- what do they add, where should the balance go between
quality and performance? How much FMV do people want to sit through?
Should the composition aim for easy orientation or artistic perfection?

* Audio -- MIDI versus sampled audio. Do you prefer location ambience to
music? Quality of the sound versus performance. Is it frustrating to sit
through hours of speech, or does that add to the game?

And anything else you feel is important. Like I said, we're in the latter
stages of the design, and this is the moment to make the decisions that
will affect the final product. We hope that you guys - the ones who will,
hopefully, be buying and playing the game - can voice your opinions on
what you want from an adventure!

Thanks,
-=-
Ragnar
Producer/Designer
Funcom Oslo

wits...@ix.netcom.com

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Feb 14, 1997, 3:00:00 AM2/14/97
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If you want to make a graphics adventure game, construct as much like
the Monkey Island series as you can --
an interface of "pick up", "walk", etc. (easily replacable with an eye
icon, etc.)
a funny, random, interesting plot
and light-hearted game-play.

good luck on your development and may these suggestions aid you in
some way.

Admiral Jota

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Feb 14, 1997, 3:00:00 AM2/14/97
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rag...@funcom.com (Ragnar Tornquist) writes:

>I'm the producer and designer of an as-of-yet untitled graphic adventure
>that's due out next year around this time from Funcom Oslo. We've
>currently been in production since April of last year, and at this stage
>the design is being finalised -- but we'd like YOUR input on what YOU want
>to see in a graphic adventure, since you guys are our core audience, and
>you're the ones we're aiming to please. So take a few minutes out to read
>this message, and use this newsgroup to express your opinions! We'll be
>paying close attention to what people want and don't want, and your voice
>will be heard.

I'd like to start by complimenting you on using the Internet the right
way. In this day and age, when there often seems to be spam than content
(even whent he term 'content' is used loosely) on UseNet, it's like a
breath of fresh air to see an intelligent message like yours. Kudos -- and
I wish you the very best of luck with this game!

>Our game, codenamed (rather unoriginally) 'X', is a graphic adventure in
>the traditional 'King's Quest'/'Monkey Island' style - i.e. 3rd person
>perspective, point-and-click interface - but with quite a few new twists
>both in presentation and in content.

[General data snipped. Anyone who wants to see it can read the original
message.]

>Here are some of the issues we'd like feedback on:

>* Interface -- total freedom or ease of use? Is the single cursor the way
>to go, or are multiple actions still preferable? How much feedback should
>the game give you beyond the time-worn "I can't do that!"?

I vote for *total* freedom. I enjoy being able to try anything; that's why
I still love Infocom-style text adventures. It really gives the player a
sense of control when he is able to try outlandish things.

As you may have guessed, I absolutely despise the uni-cursor. To me, it
feels like I' just reading a still book, looking around to find the 'turn
the page' button. Even if the plot isn't that way, that's still how the
uni-cursor makes me feel: Find the hotspot; click it; look for the next
one. It's like I'm not really a part of the story, unless I can
distinguish between 'Examine the Box', 'Take the Box', 'Shake the Box',
and 'Open the Box'.

>* Plot -- linearity versus simplicity. The more complex the story, the
>more linear the plot, the less flexibility in solving the puzzles. What do
>you prefer?

I'd prefer a more flexible, less linear plot. If there are things that I
ought to logically be able to try, I should usually be allowed to (within
reason, of course). And if there's only one course of action available to
me at a given time, I usually don't feel that I'm participating much in
the story.

>* Puzzles -- does complexity equal frustration? Are Myst-style "logic"
>puzzles appropriate for a story-driven adventure, or should all puzzles
>closely follow the plot? Object-puzzles (find this object, give it to that
>person, receive another object) versus knowledge-puzzles (talk to this
>person, get information and ask another character about that).

I don't think the Myst-style puzzles are really appropriate, *unless*
they're not obviously Myst-style puzzles. Really, any puzzle is
appropriate if it doesn't *feel* like a puzzle. If I feel like I'm a
character in the story, and I have sufficient motivation to perform a
task, but there's some sort of challenge involved in perform the task,
then the puzzle was done well. If I feel like I'm watching a story, and
that I need to perform a task in order to further the plot, and there's a
puzzle that I must solve in order to solve the task, then the puzzle was
done poorly.

For example, the chasm in Planetfall comes to mind. I've landed in an
escape pod on an apparently deserted planet. I'm exploring an old
abandoned base of some sort.In one hall, a section of the floor has fallen
out, leaving a chasm that I need to cross. As a character, I want to cross
the chasm, because I believe that there are useful information or tools on
the other side. I just need to figure out a way over there. Now, the
method of crossing the chasm is really just an object puzzle:I need to
figure out what object to use on the chasm, and what to do with it. But it
doesn't *feel* like I'm solving an object puzzle. It feels like I'm trying
to get across the chasm, because I really am interested in exploring the
other side (not just because I think the plot will be furthered).

>* Interaction -- should the player be able to examine and manipulate
>everything, or does that just make things difficult and overwhelming?
>Should all characters have a story to tell?

I think that the player should be able to examine as much useless stuff as
possible, and should be able to try to manipulate any of the scenery he
wishes, and should be able to manipulate most of the stuff a real person
would be logically capable of manipulating. This sort of thing adds a real
depth to a game, and makes it seem like the game world is much more real
than it is. Now, a side-point to this is that the important stuff
shouldn't be gratuitously hidden -- that is, the player shouldn't *have*
to examine/manipulate every little pixel on the screen. The player
shouldn't have to manipulate anything that he doesn't have a good reason
to manipulate. The player shouldn't have to examine each and every pixel
on the screen to learn what's important and what isn't. If an important
object isn't obviously a main part of the scene, there should be some kind
of hint in the game that it's important (if little post-it note on the
office wall contains useful information, then the player should be told
that the office's owner might know the information, and that he/she tends
to leave notes to himself).

>* Graphics -- what do they add, where should the balance go between
>quality and performance? How much FMV do people want to sit through?
>Should the composition aim for easy orientation or artistic perfection?

Well, I suggest using a minimum of FMV, for one reason: it's not
interactive. I hate to ahve to sit through a scene that I don't get to get
involved with, even if it's only 10-15 seconds long. Additionally, people
with slower machines (luckily that no longer includes me) often have a
great deal of difficulty with these, because of the time it takes to load
the data, to switch video modes, to display the video, etc.

>* Audio -- MIDI versus sampled audio. Do you prefer location ambience to
>music? Quality of the sound versus performance. Is it frustrating to sit
>through hours of speech, or does that add to the game?

Unlike many people, i actually like ambient music, as long at the music
changes appropriately with the environment. As far as speech is concerned,
there ought to be sub-titles, and the player should be able to cancel a
spoken message with a mouse click. Also, it's nice if speech can be turned
off altogether (so that the player just uses the sub-titles). I
personally like to play with both speech and sub-titles, and whenever a
message I've heard before comes up, I cancel it.

>And anything else you feel is important. Like I said, we're in the latter
>stages of the design, and this is the moment to make the decisions that
>will affect the final product. We hope that you guys - the ones who will,
>hopefully, be buying and playing the game - can voice your opinions on
>what you want from an adventure!

Well, make sure that you have interesting messages for as many actions as
possible, as the default 'There's nothing to see there.' or 'You can't
take that.' messages can get really annoying after a while.

I know that I've asked a lot of you, but it's what I want. You asked for
it :)
--
/<-= Admiral Jota =->\
-< <-= jo...@tiac.net =-> >-
\<-=- -= -=- -= -=->/

R Art

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Feb 15, 1997, 3:00:00 AM2/15/97
to

1. The ending must be satisfying. No game so far has this except maybe KQ6
(Sierra) or Conquests of the longbow (and NOT even Gabriel Knight 1 or 2
despite being the best games of the genre)
2. Give us a choice of digitized spooled music or MIDI. Most of us have a
wavetable system. I have an 8MB AWE32 waiting to be used.
3. Speech thats run forever is not good. Should be used sparingly and only
when needed.
4. How about actions in the middle of the game affecting the outcome. KQ6
implemented this effectively.


<<?>>

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Feb 15, 1997, 3:00:00 AM2/15/97
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>
> Here are some of the issues we'd like feedback on:
>
> * Interface -- total freedom or ease of use? Is the single cursor the
way
> to go, or are multiple actions still preferable? How much feedback should
> the game give you beyond the time-worn "I can't do that!"?

That is a tough one! I think that you can strike a good balance between
freedom and ease of use. You should have the freedom to explore, but not
to do unreasonablely stupid or excessive things which would not fit into
the plot. I do however think that you should be allowed freedom to do some
stupid things that may alter the course of your game. As for the cursor, I
like the Quest for Glory style. Right click to change action, and left
click to do it.

>
> * Plot -- linearity versus simplicity. The more complex the story, the
> more linear the plot, the less flexibility in solving the puzzles. What
do
> you prefer?

Again, you can come to a happy medium. A linear story line is great, as
long as at significant points in the time line you are are give a large
amount of freedom to choose your course. The underlying direction that the
game takes, or the goal that the character is trying to reach will have to
be linear (start at the beginning end at the end), how you get there and
the order in which you must accomplish this should be upto the player
(within reason). So I guess I'm saying more flexible and less linear, but
definately somewhat linear. Chaos isn't a whole lot of fun, but neither is
walking on a wire.

>
> * Puzzles -- does complexity equal frustration? Are Myst-style "logic"
> puzzles appropriate for a story-driven adventure, or should all puzzles
> closely follow the plot? Object-puzzles (find this object, give it to
that
> person, receive another object) versus knowledge-puzzles (talk to this
> person, get information and ask another character about that).

I like complex puzzles. In an adventure game the puzzles should be
centered more around the story and how you are going to accomplish your
goal then arranging objects (ie 7th Guest).
I prefer object puzzles as descibed above, to knowledge puzzles, but some
of both would be good.

>
> * Interaction -- should the player be able to examine and manipulate
> everything, or does that just make things difficult and overwhelming?
> Should all characters have a story to tell?
>

You should be able to examine and manipulate almost if not everything you
come across. You should also be able to find a use for everything that you
can manipulate, though it may not be nessecary to achieve your goal
(little, sometimes insignificant stories inside of the big story)

> * Graphics -- what do they add, where should the balance go between
> quality and performance? How much FMV do people want to sit through?
> Should the composition aim for easy orientation or artistic perfection?

3D accelerated!! Please!! I own a 3DFX card and would buy your game
regardless of all else if it was accelerated (well... maybe). Graphics are
a huge part of game quality! There needs to be no compremises if you
accelerate it. Also, I think that adventure games need a stronge story and
it is fun to unravel the story in a fully interactive envirnoment as
opposed to movies and cutscenes. I do however think that when you do beat
the game that it should be worth it (ie a really good ending
movie/sequence)

>
> * Audio -- MIDI versus sampled audio. Do you prefer location ambience to

> music? Quality of the sound versus performance. Is it frustrating to sit
> through hours of speech, or does that add to the game?

I prefer location ambience with sampled audio every now and then (ie during
intense action, etc.). Definitely I'd rather have performance then really
high quality sound. And yes I think it is very frustrating to sit through
long speech sequences. This should be an option (subtitles or speech or
both)

>
> And anything else you feel is important. Like I said, we're in the latter
> stages of the design, and this is the moment to make the decisions that
> will affect the final product. We hope that you guys - the ones who will,
> hopefully, be buying and playing the game - can voice your opinions on
> what you want from an adventure!

I'm sure that the story line is complete, but I definitely enjoy different
adventures (no more King's Quest VI and VII type adventures). I get sick
of playing more of the same stuff. Be original :) It sounds good so far!

Admiral Jota

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Feb 15, 1997, 3:00:00 AM2/15/97
to

"R Art" <chee...@resorts.po.my> writes:

>1. The ending must be satisfying. No game so far has this except maybe KQ6
>(Sierra) or Conquests of the longbow (and NOT even Gabriel Knight 1 or 2
>despite being the best games of the genre)

[other comments snipped]

If you're looking for a *satisfying* ending, play A Mind Forever Voyaging
(by Infocom). It makes you feel like everything else you did was
worthwhile.

Now, I do enjoy satisfying endings as much as everything else, but there
is something to be said for unsatisfying ones. The ending to Trinity (by
Infocom) wasn't quite what I'd call 'satisfying', but it really makes you
think. It's a great ending, and it left me wanting the play the game over
again from the beginning.

Admiral Jota

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Feb 15, 1997, 3:00:00 AM2/15/97
to

"<<?>>" <pell...@gte.net> writes:

>> * Interface -- total freedom or ease of use? Is the single cursor the
>> way to go, or are multiple actions still preferable? How much feedback
>> should the game give you beyond the time-worn "I can't do that!"?

>That is a tough one! I think that you can strike a good balance between
>freedom and ease of use. You should have the freedom to explore, but not
>to do unreasonablely stupid or excessive things which would not fit into
>the plot. I do however think that you should be allowed freedom to do some
>stupid things that may alter the course of your game.

Hmm. Either I'm not really understanding you correctly, or you're
contradicting yourself. Do you mean that you like 'stupid actions' or not?
And what do you consider 'stupid actions'.

I personally like the ability to choose any reasonable action. If I have a
sword, I'd like to be able to be able to decide whether I give it to
someone or kill someone with it. If there is a tree in the game, and I
need to shake it to get an apple to fall from it, I don't want the puzzle
to be solved for me when I try to climb the tree.

>As for the cursor, I like the Quest for Glory style. Right click to
>change action, and left click to do it.

I'm not personally as familiar with the QfG games as I'd like to be. is
this similar to the point in most of Sierra's graphical adventure series
(King's, Space, LSL)? I personally found that five options rather
limiting. I liked the LucasArts interface much better. I haven't
personally played LSL7, but from what I've heard of it, it sounds like it
has a pretty good one.



>> * Plot -- linearity versus simplicity. The more complex the story, the
>> more linear the plot, the less flexibility in solving the puzzles. What
>> do you prefer?

>Again, you can come to a happy medium. A linear story line is great, as
>long as at significant points in the time line you are are give a large
>amount of freedom to choose your course.

How can it be linear if you can change the course of the game at
significant points? :)

>The underlying direction that the game takes, or the goal that the
>character is trying to reach will have to be linear (start at the
>beginning end at the end), how you get there and the order in which you
>must accomplish this should be upto the player (within reason). So I
>guess I'm saying more flexible and less linear, but definately somewhat
>linear. Chaos isn't a whole lot of fun, but neither is walking on a
>wire.

Well, the game should have a definite goal of some sort, or else it all
falls apart and is meaningless (even if the goal is simply to find and
obtain all the valuable stuff you can, it's still a motivation for the
protagonist). I think it's nice when particular puzzles can be solved in
different orders (depending on which the pplayer can figure out first),
and when the player has more than one aspect of the game that he can
concentrate on at once, so that the game doesn't get stale.



>> * Puzzles -- does complexity equal frustration? Are Myst-style "logic"
>> puzzles appropriate for a story-driven adventure, or should all puzzles
>> closely follow the plot? Object-puzzles (find this object, give it to
>> that person, receive another object) versus knowledge-puzzles (talk to
>> this person, get information and ask another character about that).

>I like complex puzzles. In an adventure game the puzzles should be
>centered more around the story and how you are going to accomplish your
>goal then arranging objects (ie 7th Guest).
>I prefer object puzzles as descibed above, to knowledge puzzles, but some
>of both would be good.

If I understand you correctly (ie: 7th Guest puzzles are *bad*), then I
agree wholeheartedly. Heh, if you're looking for a complex puzzle, though,
try getting the Babel Fish from Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy.
(Unfortunately, it does suffer from *looking* like a puzzle).

>> * Interaction -- should the player be able to examine and manipulate
>> everything, or does that just make things difficult and overwhelming?
>> Should all characters have a story to tell?

>You should be able to examine and manipulate almost if not everything you
>come across. You should also be able to find a use for everything that you
>can manipulate, though it may not be nessecary to achieve your goal
>(little, sometimes insignificant stories inside of the big story)

Well, I agree completely that you should be able to examine/manipulate
everything, but it's kinda neat when there are some objects that don't
have a real useful use. Begin told 'You don't need that item.' really
breaks the mood of a game, and makes *me* feel manipulated. I like it when
objects that I *should* be able to take can be taken, even if they don't
do anything to the plot (although it's great to be able to do lots of
useless things with those objects). Also, it's nice when objects that are
useful can be used in multiple ways. For some good examples of this, check
of Andrew Plotkin's So Far (I think it can be found at <ftp://ftp.gmd.de/
if-archive/games/infocom/SoFar.z5>). I'd tell you which objects I'm
talking about, but that would give away several spoilers for that game :)

>> * Graphics -- what do they add, where should the balance go between
>> quality and performance? How much FMV do people want to sit through?
>> Should the composition aim for easy orientation or artistic perfection?

>3D accelerated!! Please!! I own a 3DFX card and would buy your game
>regardless of all else if it was accelerated (well... maybe). Graphics are
>a huge part of game quality! There needs to be no compremises if you
>accelerate it.

Note: a game which tries to do simple graphics and does them well is far
superior to a game which tries to do complex graphics but does them
poorly. So basically, don't bite off more than you can chew in this
respect. Bigger is not necessarily better. Better is better.

>Also, I think that adventure games need a stronge story and it is fun to
>unravel the story in a fully interactive envirnoment as opposed to movies
>and cutscenes.

Agreed. This reminds me of a quote I've heard: 'Good graphics can make a
good game into a great game, but they can't make a poor game into a good
game.' The plot, atmosphere, and interactivity must come first.

>I do however think that when you do beat the game that it
>should be worth it (ie a really good ending movie/sequence)

Well, don't forget that interactive endings can be better than
non-interactive ones. I'm again reminded of the end of A Mind Forever
Voyaging (I don't want to give anything away; check it out for yourself!)

>> * Audio -- MIDI versus sampled audio. Do you prefer location ambience to
>> music? Quality of the sound versus performance. Is it frustrating to sit
>> through hours of speech, or does that add to the game?

>I prefer location ambience with sampled audio every now and then (ie during
>intense action, etc.). Definitely I'd rather have performance then really
>high quality sound. And yes I think it is very frustrating to sit through
>long speech sequences. This should be an option (subtitles or speech or
>both)

I don't have much to add here, except that digital sound effects are nice
where appropriate, as long as they're not long.

>> And anything else you feel is important. Like I said, we're in the latter
>> stages of the design, and this is the moment to make the decisions that
>> will affect the final product. We hope that you guys - the ones who will,
>> hopefully, be buying and playing the game - can voice your opinions on
>> what you want from an adventure!

>I'm sure that the story line is complete, but I definitely enjoy different
>adventures (no more King's Quest VI and VII type adventures). I get sick
>of playing more of the same stuff. Be original :) It sounds good so far!

And don't forget to tell us the title when it comes out! Remind us 9the
newsgroup) that the new game on the market is the one we had input into
(so that we can complain if you do anything wrong ;) ).

Dietmar Logoz

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Feb 16, 1997, 3:00:00 AM2/16/97
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In message <jota.85...@laraby.tiac.net> - jo...@laraby.tiac.net
(Admiral Jota)14 Feb 97 23:24:02 GMT writes:

>I vote for *total* freedom. [...]
>I'd prefer a more flexible, less linear plot. [...]


>I think that the player should be able to examine as much useless stuff as
>possible, and should be able to try to manipulate any of the scenery he
>wishes, and should be able to manipulate most of the stuff a real person

>would be logically capable of manipulating. [...]


>Well, I suggest using a minimum of FMV, for one reason: it's not

>interactive. [...]


>Unlike many people, i actually like ambient music, as long at the music
>changes appropriately with the environment. As far as speech is concerned,
>there ought to be sub-titles, and the player should be able to cancel a

>spoken message with a mouse click. [...]


>Well, make sure that you have interesting messages for as many actions as
>possible, as the default 'There's nothing to see there.' or 'You can't
>take that.' messages can get really annoying after a while.
>
>I know that I've asked a lot of you, but it's what I want. You asked for
>it :)

I second all this. But I would like to add:
Make it a DOS game, please (or cross platform...).

Dietmar
lo...@ibm.net

Admiral Jota

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Feb 16, 1997, 3:00:00 AM2/16/97
to

lo...@ibm.net (Dietmar Logoz) writes:

>In message <jota.85...@laraby.tiac.net> - jo...@laraby.tiac.net
>(Admiral Jota)14 Feb 97 23:24:02 GMT writes:

[lots of very wise comments, made by me, snipped]


>>I know that I've asked a lot of you, but it's what I want. You asked for
>>it :)

>I second all this. But I would like to add:


>Make it a DOS game, please (or cross platform...).

Yes, thank you for reminding me! I forgot to mention this: I'm sic of
games that require Windows or Windows95, when they could have just as
easily been written for DOS. Any game written for DOS can be run under
Windows and Windows95, but games written for Windows and Windows95 cannot
be played under DOS. And I don't think I'm the only person out there who
gets annoyed when he has to start up Windows just to play a game.

Kåre Morstøl

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Feb 17, 1997, 3:00:00 AM2/17/97
to

My idea of a good adventure game is that it is relaxing (for gods
sake, no timed puzzles!), requires quite a bit of thinking, and can be
completed in more than one way. There definately shouldn't be any FMV,
as rendered cut-scenes are much better. That is IF cut-scenes are
needed. There should definately be an inventory, where you can examine
the objects from all angles, maybe open them, and combine them with
other objects. Multiple actions are much better than the
sinlge-purpose cursor (for example the "open, close, give to, walk to,
talk to, push, pull, use, look at" buttons in many LucasArts games,
which are definately the best adventure games ever made). There
shouldn't be too much dialogue, but one should have as many
alternatives as possible. And one should be able to work on several
puzzles at the same time, so if you get tired of one, you can just go
and work on another one. In Day of the Tentacle, you could switch
between 3 persons, and therefore the game didn't get boring, as some
adventure games can get when you're stuck. Basically, if you want to
know how to make great adventure games, look at LucasArts.

dwa...@cix.compulink.co.uk ("Dave Wadler") wrote:
>> I'm the producer and designer of an as-of-yet untitled graphic
>> adventure that's due out next year around this time from Funcom Oslo.
>> We've currently been in production since April of last year, and at
>> this stage the design is being finalised -- but we'd like YOUR input
>> on what YOU want to see in a graphic adventure, since you guys are our
>> core audience, and you're the ones we're aiming to please. So take a

>> few minutes out to read this message, and use this newsgroup to

>> express your opinions! We'll be paying close attention to what people
>> want and don't want, and your voice will be heard.


If you respond to this message, please also respond in email.

---------------------------------------------------------------

Kåre Morstøl, <Kare.M...@hiMolde.no>
Molde College

"Where I want to go today? What do you care!"


Garry Kibler

unread,
Feb 17, 1997, 3:00:00 AM2/17/97
to

I agree with the admiral with two exceptions.

The cursor is debatable. I like the LucasArts interface in their
games. I like the Myst style interface also. I think it depends on the
game. In Myst you weren't manipulating a lot of objects and
interfacing with people( talking, giving objects), so the single
cursor works. In LucasArts, you do a lot of interfacing. The multiple
action curser and inventory list are a must. Depends on the game. I
like `em both.

I'm not sure I agree with "make it a DOS game" I'll agree with that if
I don't have to jump through a dozen hoops to get it to run. You know,
need XXX expanded memory, and XXX extended memory, and this driver
loaded high, and that... well, so on. I have been spoiled by `95.
Things just tend to run now. I can't believe the trouble I had getting
the 7th Guest & 11th Hour to run, yet I installed Frankenstein
Eyes..., Shivers, Myst and others under `95 and they ran without a
hitch! This is one area I REALLY rate the programmers on, and weighs
heavily on whether I recommend a game.


Last, but not least. I don't want to die. I don't play games, to be
chastised for making a mistake and have to start over. I know I can
usually restore a game, but I still don't like it. And speaking of
saving games. Make it easy to save a game and restore it. Give me
menus where I can name them something descriptive, so if I need to go
back several steps, like to feed a cheese sandwich to a dog, I'll
understand my saved games.

Thanks for asking what we want.

garry


Garry Kibler
Union Carbide Corp.
(304) 747-4542
kibl...@peabody.sct.ucarb.com

Peter Kelly

unread,
Feb 17, 1997, 3:00:00 AM2/17/97
to

Ragnar Tornquist wrote:

> Our game, codenamed (rather unoriginally) 'X', is a graphic adventure in
> the traditional 'King's Quest'/'Monkey Island' style - i.e. 3rd person
> perspective, point-and-click interface - but with quite a few new twists

> both in presentation and in content. The majority of the graphics will be
> pre-rendered 3D-models in high-resolution and 65,000 colours, the

First of all, good on you for doing the game in high colour. 256 colours
doesn't look as good these days (esp. in high res) because the pictures
get all dithered. All recent video cards will support hi colour anyway.

> Here are some of the issues we'd like feedback on:
>

> * Interface -- total freedom or ease of use? Is the single cursor the way
> to go, or are multiple actions still preferable? How much feedback should
> the game give you beyond the time-worn "I can't do that!"?

Please don't use the single cursor. It is good to have several different
actions to choose from, otherwise it makes the game too easy. It may be
alright if the games are designed for young children, but most adventure
game players like to have more control over the action.


>
> * Plot -- linearity versus simplicity. The more complex the story, the
> more linear the plot, the less flexibility in solving the puzzles. What do
> you prefer?

I prefer less linearity to a plot. This makes the game a bit easier
because if you get stuck on one puzzle you can go and work on another
for a while, and maybe in that time you'll come up with an idea for the
first one. If I get stuck on a linear game, I usually find myself going
off and doing something else instead of exploring a different aspect of
the game. It makes developing a story a lot more difficult, though.

> * Puzzles -- does complexity equal frustration? Are Myst-style "logic"
> puzzles appropriate for a story-driven adventure, or should all puzzles
> closely follow the plot? Object-puzzles (find this object, give it to that
> person, receive another object) versus knowledge-puzzles (talk to this
> person, get information and ask another character about that).

I think that logic type puzzles are best kept to games like Myst and
Zork Nemesis. In my opinion, they are in their own genre, separate from
mainstream adventure games (and let's keep it that way - I do enjoy
these games though). Puzzles should follow the plot, because this makes
them easier to understand and more logical.

> * Interaction -- should the player be able to examine and manipulate
> everything, or does that just make things difficult and overwhelming?
> Should all characters have a story to tell?

This gives the game more depth, and helps develop the storyline. For
example, most of what you see and interact with in Zork Nemesis is to
tell you more about the storyline. Freddy Pharkas had a lot of non-game
interaction and messages, all of which were humorous. You could use
every object in your inventory with every other object in your inventory
and get a different message each time. This made the game more enjoyable
for me. Humorous game or not, I believe this sort of thing does help, as
long as there are not too many red herrings as far as puzzles are
concerned.

> * Graphics -- what do they add, where should the balance go between
> quality and performance? How much FMV do people want to sit through?
> Should the composition aim for easy orientation or artistic perfection?

FMV is alright, as long as the game does not rely too heavily on it
(i.e. does not turn into a movie). The more FMV sequences, the less
interactive time in the game (I really love the sequences in old
Lucasarts adventures where you got to choose from several choices when
having a conversation, e.g. talking to Purple Tentacle at the end of Day
of the Tentacle)

> * Audio -- MIDI versus sampled audio. Do you prefer location ambience to
> music? Quality of the sound versus performance. Is it frustrating to sit
> through hours of speech, or does that add to the game?

On the music issue, definetly sampled audio. It takes up more space but
it is definetly worth it because most people don't have wavetable
soundcards. Larry 7 used this but unfortunately required the music files
to sit on your hard drive (93 meg, or 24 meg for people who are
'inadequete').



> And anything else you feel is important. Like I said, we're in the latter
> stages of the design, and this is the moment to make the decisions that
> will affect the final product. We hope that you guys - the ones who will,
> hopefully, be buying and playing the game - can voice your opinions on
> what you want from an adventure!

I think it's great that a game company is consulting the players on what
they want before they produce the game. Thanks for listening to us!

-----------------------------------------------------------------
| Peter Kelly | 'A picture is worth |
| ptrk...@ozemail.com.au | a thousand words; |
| Peter Kelly's Sierra Land: | 532 with compression' |
| http://www.ozemail.com.au/~ptrkelly/ | |
-----------------------------------------------------------------

Admiral Jota

unread,
Feb 18, 1997, 3:00:00 AM2/18/97
to

dwa...@cix.compulink.co.uk ("Dave Wadler") writes:

[snip]
>The worst thing of all is time related problems. If I come across a
>problem that can only be done at a certain time or within a time limit I
>tend to give up on principle. Note that I have no objection to a problem
>that can only be done after a specific time/event, as long as I can be
>done any time after.

I'd like to comment on a small part of this, regarding things 'that can
only be done after a specific time/event.' If you have anything like this,
it is *vital* that there be some logical reasoning behind why you can't do
that thing until after the given event! Nothing is more frustating than
wondering when the Princess Flibbly will walk through the garden, when the
game is waiting for you to experience a (totally unrelated) piece of plot
before allowing the Princess to arrive.

A reference for a game with this sort of problem would be King's Quest IV.
One example from it is a whale. You need to meet the whale in order to
acquire certain things which are needed to do other certain things
(vagueness intended). The whale will *not* appear until after you've
spoken to the person who is going to ask you to do those 'other certain
things'. This is a Bad Thing(tm).

[snip]
>The other thing I would *really* like to see is a text parser. I get
>really annoyed in some games at the choice of words I can say to some
>characters. It would be *much* nicer if I could type in what I want to
>say. While on the subject of talking to characters, if we must select
>from a list can the choices be polite. For example after taking an
>object from someone or getting some information I would like to say
>thank you.

Yes! I know that a tesxt parser can be used to simulate an AI well enough
to make an adventure game character seem far deeper than an adventure game
character, something that can't be done with a statically scripted
graphical conversation.

Admiral Jota

unread,
Feb 18, 1997, 3:00:00 AM2/18/97
to

aga...@peabody.sct.ucarb.com (Garry Kibler) writes:

>Last, but not least. I don't want to die. I don't play games, to be
>chastised for making a mistake and have to start over. I know I can
>usually restore a game, but I still don't like it.

Hrm. I actually *like* having the ability to 'fail' in a game. It gives me
a sense that it matters what I do (i.e. if I play well, I win; if I play
poorly I die/lose/get exiled to Australia). When I can't lose the game, it
often seems like I'm just looking for the right action to move on, rather
than actually affecting the storyline.

Although that above paragraph should definitely be taken with a grain of
salt. The quality of the game itself is far more important -- e.g. I
didn't have any problem with the lack of death in the Monkey Island games.
In fact, I didn't really notice it. And games with too much unnecessary
death (especially games with illogical death) are very annoying.

So how about a compromise: death, but every 'death' has an UNDO function
(like in Larry 6)?

>And speaking of
>saving games. Make it easy to save a game and restore it. Give me
>menus where I can name them something descriptive, so if I need to go
>back several steps, like to feed a cheese sandwich to a dog, I'll
>understand my saved games.

Agreed. Though I'm usually far too lazy to give descriptive names, it's
still a very nice feature.

Garry Kibler

unread,
Feb 18, 1997, 3:00:00 AM2/18/97
to

And another thing. For zorks sake, don't make me play a stupid game to
get to the next part of the adventure. I detested that friggin'
microscope "puzzle" in 7th Guest. It wasn't a puzzle, it was a game.
If I wanted to play that type of game, I wouldn't be buying adventure
types!!

garry

On 14 Feb 1997 16:23:37 GMT, rag...@funcom.com (Ragnar Tornquist)
wrote:

>I'm the producer and designer of an as-of-yet untitled graphic adventure
>that's due out next year around this time from Funcom Oslo. We've
>currently been in production since April of last year, and at this stage
>the design is being finalised -- but we'd like YOUR input on what YOU want
>to see in a graphic adventure, since you guys are our core audience, and
>you're the ones we're aiming to please. So take a few minutes out to read
>this message, and use this newsgroup to express your opinions! We'll be
>paying close attention to what people want and don't want, and your voice
>will be heard.
>

>Our game, codenamed (rather unoriginally) 'X', is a graphic adventure in
>the traditional 'King's Quest'/'Monkey Island' style - i.e. 3rd person
>perspective, point-and-click interface - but with quite a few new twists
>both in presentation and in content. The majority of the graphics will be
>pre-rendered 3D-models in high-resolution and 65,000 colours, the

>characters faces will be digitised from clay sculptures, and all animation
>will be motion captured. We're aiming for a stylised "hyper-real" look
>rather than the cartoony graphics of most current adventures, while
>avoiding the cheesiness of video-captured actors against photographic or
>drawn backgrounds (the "cut-and-paste" look). Also, rather than opting for
>the single-cursor interface that has come to dominate the genre, we've
>chosen to bring back the multi-icon interface in the shape of a floating,
>transparent menu that appears wherever you click the right mouse-button.
>You'll have a choice between five basic actions; eye, hand, mouth, foot
>and active item.
>
>As for the story, it's a lot more mature (not as in sex and violence,
>though) and complex than in most recent graphic adventures, and we're
>targetting the game for a slightly older audience (16 and above). The
>typical comparison would be to the Vertigo line of comic books,
>specifically those by Neil Gaiman; fantastic but believable, rooted in
>mythology and religion, and populated with characters that, while often
>strange and otherwordly, you can identify with. The core concept is that
>of two worlds - one of logic, science and order, the other of magic, chaos
>and dreams - and the cosmic Balance between the two. The main character is
>a young woman, an art-student, with the talent to "Shift" between these
>worlds. She is, of course, pulled into a situation where the fate of the
>Balance is at stake, and where she must learn to use her latent talent to
>put things right. Of course, things turn out to be a lot more complex than
>what they seem -- but more on that another time :)
>

>Here are some of the issues we'd like feedback on:
>
>* Interface -- total freedom or ease of use? Is the single cursor the way
>to go, or are multiple actions still preferable? How much feedback should
>the game give you beyond the time-worn "I can't do that!"?
>

>* Plot -- linearity versus simplicity. The more complex the story, the
>more linear the plot, the less flexibility in solving the puzzles. What do
>you prefer?
>

>* Puzzles -- does complexity equal frustration? Are Myst-style "logic"
>puzzles appropriate for a story-driven adventure, or should all puzzles
>closely follow the plot? Object-puzzles (find this object, give it to that
>person, receive another object) versus knowledge-puzzles (talk to this
>person, get information and ask another character about that).
>

>* Interaction -- should the player be able to examine and manipulate
>everything, or does that just make things difficult and overwhelming?
>Should all characters have a story to tell?
>

>* Graphics -- what do they add, where should the balance go between
>quality and performance? How much FMV do people want to sit through?
>Should the composition aim for easy orientation or artistic perfection?
>

>* Audio -- MIDI versus sampled audio. Do you prefer location ambience to
>music? Quality of the sound versus performance. Is it frustrating to sit
>through hours of speech, or does that add to the game?
>

>And anything else you feel is important. Like I said, we're in the latter
>stages of the design, and this is the moment to make the decisions that
>will affect the final product. We hope that you guys - the ones who will,
>hopefully, be buying and playing the game - can voice your opinions on
>what you want from an adventure!
>

>Thanks,
>-=-
>Ragnar
>Producer/Designer
>Funcom Oslo

Garry Kibler

Howard Rumsey

unread,
Feb 18, 1997, 3:00:00 AM2/18/97
to

In article <33099695....@news.zippo.com>,
aga...@peabody.sct.ucarb.com says...

> And another thing. For zorks sake, don't make me play a stupid game to
> get to the next part of the adventure. I detested that friggin'
> microscope "puzzle" in 7th Guest. It wasn't a puzzle, it was a game.
> If I wanted to play that type of game, I wouldn't be buying adventure
> types!!
>
> garry

I agree, don't MAKE me play ... But the microscope puzzle in 7th Guest
is an example of doing it the right way. You don't have to play it if
you don't want to. Simply ask for help often enough and it lets you go
on with the adventure. (So I have been told. I actually won the game
after several hours of trying :-).

Howard

Dave Wadler

unread,
Feb 19, 1997, 3:00:00 AM2/19/97
to

> [snip]
>> The worst thing of all is time related problems. If I come across a
>> problem that can only be done at a certain time or within a time
>> limit I tend to give up on principle. Note that I have no objection
>> to a problem that can only be done after a specific time/event, as
>> long as I can be done any time after.

> I'd like to comment on a small part of this, regarding things 'that
> can only be done after a specific time/event.' If you have anything
> like this, it is *vital* that there be some logical reasoning behind
> why you can't do that thing until after the given event! Nothing is
> more frustating than wondering when the Princess Flibbly will walk
> through the garden, when the game is waiting for you to experience a
> (totally unrelated) piece of plot before allowing the Princess to >
arrive.

I have to agree with you there. And wonder why I didn't point that out
my self :-)

[snip]

>> The other thing I would *really* like to see is a text parser. I get
>> really annoyed in some games at the choice of words I can say to some
>> characters. It would be *much* nicer if I could type in what I want
>> to say. While on the subject of talking to characters, if we must
>> select from a list can the choices be polite. For example after
>> taking an object from someone or getting some information I would
>> like to say thank you.
>
> Yes! I know that a tesxt parser can be used to simulate an AI well
> enough to make an adventure game character seem far deeper than an
> adventure game character, something that can't be done with a
> statically scripted graphical conversation.

Exactly. There have been a number of advances in the AI field over the
last few years so I'm sure it should be possible to have free text
input. And doing so would make the characters seem more 'real'

Dave
(http://www.game-over.co.uk/)

.

Dan Ts'o

unread,
Feb 20, 1997, 3:00:00 AM2/20/97
to

I feel that Tomb Raider is so good that its style should be emulated
more. It certainly has a number of flaws, but it has a lot to recommend it.
Notice that people are a little confused whether should be called an
action or adventure game. That is the way it should be: having elements of
both action and adventure.

: * Interface -- total freedom or ease of use? Is the single cursor the way


: to go, or are multiple actions still preferable? How much feedback should
: the game give you beyond the time-worn "I can't do that!"?

Complete and total freedom. The "I can't do that's" should make
sense in a real world context. I dislike preplanned precomputed travel paths.

: * Plot -- linearity versus simplicity. The more complex the story, the


: more linear the plot, the less flexibility in solving the puzzles. What do
: you prefer?

It should be linear in the sense that there is a clear objective, or
possibly a few objectives (that would be neat, may be 3 or 4 different goals,
all of which you want to happen, but only some of which can happen, depending
on decisions). But you want the goals to at least become reasonably clear.
You don't want to simply live someone else's life.

: * Puzzles -- does complexity equal frustration? Are Myst-style "logic"

: puzzles appropriate for a story-driven adventure, or should all puzzles
: closely follow the plot? Object-puzzles (find this object, give it to that
: person, receive another object) versus knowledge-puzzles (talk to this
: person, get information and ask another character about that).

Puzzles ideally should not seem like puzzles but would be completely
integrated into the goal-seeking paths of the game. I can't say that the
puzzles in Myst were that compelling, though some were much better than
others (kinda liked the boiler/tree). But 7th Guest was far worse. And I hate
maze puzzles. The "maze" in GK2 was fine.

: * Interaction -- should the player be able to examine and manipulate

: everything, or does that just make things difficult and overwhelming?
: Should all characters have a story to tell?

Yes, everything within reason.
The characters should be people. Some people have interesting things
to say, and other don't. Some things you hear are relevant, and others are
not.

: * Graphics -- what do they add, where should the balance go between


: quality and performance? How much FMV do people want to sit through?
: Should the composition aim for easy orientation or artistic perfection?

3D graphics a must. FMV one can do without. Don't know what you mean
by easy orientation.

: * Audio -- MIDI versus sampled audio. Do you prefer location ambience to

: music? Quality of the sound versus performance. Is it frustrating to sit
: through hours of speech, or does that add to the game?

MIDI is generally bad. Ambience is generally great. The game must
have ambience, atmosphere and an immersive quality. If music, subtle,
non-obviously-repetitive, helps that, then fine. But ambient sounds are usually
more essential in creating a realistic compelling atmosphere.

: And anything else you feel is important. Like I said, we're in the latter


: stages of the design, and this is the moment to make the decisions that
: will affect the final product. We hope that you guys - the ones who will,
: hopefully, be buying and playing the game - can voice your opinions on
: what you want from an adventure!

--
Cheers,
Dan Ts'o 212-327-7671
Dept. of Neurobiology FAX: 212-327-7671
The Rockefeller University
1230 York Ave. Box 138 dan...@cris.com
New York, NY 10021 d...@dna.rockefeller.edu

Garry Kibler

unread,
Feb 20, 1997, 3:00:00 AM2/20/97
to

I disagree completely. If it is an action/adventure I will not buy it.
I do not play shoot-em-ups. A little pinball now and then, card games,
etc, but no action types.

Even though I am a minority, and most people enjoy both, I believe a
game of a mixed nature will not be a best seller. I view adventures as
"thinking games". Not that many action games don't take as much
logical thought as well as dexterity, but if I have to shoot 75 out of
80 natives to get across the ravine to my next clue, I'll pack it back
in the box, and toss it.

Maybe I'm not a minority. In my office, and cirle of friends, most
people are divided in what they play. Most adventurers avoid actions.
Most arcade players avoid adventures. I say most, there are
exceptions.

Thanks for warning my about Tomb Raider. I'll pass on it.

Garry

On Thu, 20 Feb 1997 01:24:19 GMT, Dan Ts'o <d...@dnn.rockefeller.edu>
wrote:

> I feel that Tomb Raider is so good that its style should be emulated
>more. It certainly has a number of flaws, but it has a lot to recommend it.
>Notice that people are a little confused whether should be called an
>action or adventure game. That is the way it should be: having elements of
>both action and adventure.
>

Garry Kibler

Ryan Creighton

unread,
Feb 21, 1997, 3:00:00 AM2/21/97
to


Give us a well-written game.


Hire a writer to design your plot, your characters ... have him or her
write the dialogue and the opening / ending scenes. Look at Jane
Jensen's Gabriel Knight games, and the flavour that was brought to I
Have No Mouth ... by Harlan Ellison.

Graphic adventure fans are a literate crowd, most of us coming from
the Infocom text parser traditions. Your first step in the right
direction was appealling to your audience - to do a little market
research with your actual market. Your players will appreciate you
more if you address their intelligence.


Please do not write the game for illiterate people. That is not what
this type of game is about. Let non-cerebral people play DOOM. If
you can put in a text parser, it would be a very gutsy move for which
I would applaud you.


Finally, hire me.


I am an accomplished writer with fully completed graphic adventure
scripts. I am a Computer Graphics student with good design skills
and, though this post seems a bit dry, I have a killer sense of
humour. (Hey Jota - wanna design a game with me?)


Danny Geyser

unread,
Feb 21, 1997, 3:00:00 AM2/21/97
to

Admiral Jota (jo...@laraby.tiac.net) wrote:

: And I don't think I'm the only person out there who


: gets annoyed when he has to start up Windows just to play a game.

Just curious, but what's the big deal about starting up Windows?

I'm not trying to start a DOS vs. Windows vs. SomethingElse
thread. I simply don't understand what you find so horrible about
taking the extra few seconds to start up Windows (I assume you're
talking about Windows 3.1).

--
-Danny da...@sgs.es.hac.com
[all opinions expressed are my own]

Admiral Jota

unread,
Feb 21, 1997, 3:00:00 AM2/21/97
to

ball...@followme.com (Ryan Creighton) writes:

>Give us a well-written game.

<Cheer!>

>Hire a writer to design your plot, your characters ... have him or her
>write the dialogue and the opening / ending scenes. Look at Jane
>Jensen's Gabriel Knight games, and the flavour that was brought to I
>Have No Mouth ... by Harlan Ellison.

>Graphic adventure fans are a literate crowd, most of us coming from
>the Infocom text parser traditions. Your first step in the right
>direction was appealling to your audience - to do a little market
>research with your actual market. Your players will appreciate you
>more if you address their intelligence.

<Cheer! Cheer!>

>Please do not write the game for illiterate people. That is not what
>this type of game is about. Let non-cerebral people play DOOM. If
>you can put in a text parser, it would be a very gutsy move for which
>I would applaud you.

<Cheer! Cheer! Cheer!>

>Finally, hire me.

<Chuckle.>

>I am an accomplished writer with fully completed graphic adventure
>scripts. I am a Computer Graphics student with good design skills
>and, though this post seems a bit dry, I have a killer sense of
>humour. (Hey Jota - wanna design a game with me?)

OK, but I have to warn you that I might not have much time to lend: I'm
already working on a team project to create another game (although I don't
mind giving myself more projects than I can handle! ;) )

Admiral Jota

unread,
Feb 21, 1997, 3:00:00 AM2/21/97
to

da...@sgs.es.hac.com (Danny Geyser) writes:

>Admiral Jota (jo...@laraby.tiac.net) wrote:

>: And I don't think I'm the only person out there who
>: gets annoyed when he has to start up Windows just to play a game.

>Just curious, but what's the big deal about starting up Windows?

>I'm not trying to start a DOS vs. Windows vs. SomethingElse
>thread. I simply don't understand what you find so horrible about
>taking the extra few seconds to start up Windows (I assume you're
>talking about Windows 3.1).

OK, but let me preface my remarks: This is my personal opinion. It is a
statement of taste. I'm not telling anyone else what he/she should do; I'm
just saying what *I* prefer.

There, now that that's out of the way, let's start offending people ;) I
personally find GUIs very inconvenient to use, and the various versions of
MS Windows particularly inconvenient. I don't like switching back
and forth between the mouse and keyboard, and I can type beter and faster
than I can point and click. I also don't like the delay time of actually
starting and ending Windows itself to be added to the time needed to run
that single program (since I have no intent to keep WIndows running
regularly). I add to this the fact that nowadays, most Windows prgrams are
Windows95 programs. I don't want to have the graphical overhead of Win95
always running on my machine, nor do I want to restart in Windows mode to
run certain programs.

Also, of course, almost all people in the Intel world can run DOS programs
(even Linux and OS/2 people often have emulators or DOS partitions), but
only the Windows95 people can run Windows95 programs. It just seems more
logical to pick the more widely available platform.

Laurie Power

unread,
Feb 21, 1997, 3:00:00 AM2/21/97
to

Never mind the quality, what about the width.

Yes, a good atmospheric story is the most important but when it comes
to puzzles I can't help but feel that lots of games hide the lack of
any depth of story behind the obscure eg Ripper. It's easy to claim
40 hours playing time for a game if you need to batter your head on
the monitor for hours and then spend a few days searching the net to progress.
Don't get me wrong I'm all for a challenge and I only go looking for
help if I really have to but some games should be stamped PUZZLE and
not claim to be adventures.
A good adventure should be much more about being immersed in an
interesting world with characters and interaction you can relate to.

Pet hates; apart from the feed the cheese sandwich to the dog already
mentioned.

Clicking at pixles, it's fair enough to hide things but please if I
look in the right place I'd like to be able to see things.

No win situation , please don't let me overwrite my last ten saves
before realising I need the pickaxe handle I threw at the postman.

Oh one other thing , I think good voice can really enliven a game.
For all the fancy interactive movies about I reckon Tim Curry as
Gabriel Knight was the best bit of computer acting ever, turning a
good game into a great one.

Geeze but wadda I know LOL


Admiral Jota

unread,
Feb 23, 1997, 3:00:00 AM2/23/97
to

Laurie Power <l.p...@zetnet.co.uk> writes:

>Never mind the quality, what about the width.

>Yes, a good atmospheric story is the most important but when it comes
>to puzzles I can't help but feel that lots of games hide the lack of
>any depth of story behind the obscure eg Ripper. It's easy to claim
>40 hours playing time for a game if you need to batter your head on
>the monitor for hours and then spend a few days searching the net to progress.
>Don't get me wrong I'm all for a challenge and I only go looking for
>help if I really have to but some games should be stamped PUZZLE and
>not claim to be adventures.
>A good adventure should be much more about being immersed in an
>interesting world with characters and interaction you can relate to.

But of course, there's absolutely wrong with having difficult puzzles in a
game, as long as the puzzles A) fit into the story/plot/atmosphere
seamlessly, and B) have logical, sensible solutions. I despise puzzles
that are hard because they're unfair (like hunt-the-pixel or
guess-the-verb, or (horror or horrors) guess-what-obscure-thing-the-
author-was-thinking-about), but I like puzzles that are difficult just
because they're difficult. I enjoy it when a game forces me to think
long and hard about what I should do, if I later feel that all that work
was worth it.

>Pet hates; apart from the feed the cheese sandwich to the dog already
>mentioned.

I don't know why you hated it, but I'm discussing that with you via Email.

>Clicking at pixles, it's fair enough to hide things but please if I
>look in the right place I'd like to be able to see things.

Right, hunt-the-pixel is a Bad Thing.

>No win situation , please don't let me overwrite my last ten saves
>before realising I need the pickaxe handle I threw at the postman.

Well, no-win situations are OK if there's enough hinting at it beforehand
(or very shortly thereafter). For example, if *know* that you'll have to
be digging for gold later on in the game, it's really you're own fault if
you throw away your pickaxe. If, on the other hand, there's no indication
that the pickaxe itself will be particularly necessary later, then it's
definitely not fair.

>Oh one other thing , I think good voice can really enliven a game.
>For all the fancy interactive movies about I reckon Tim Curry as
>Gabriel Knight was the best bit of computer acting ever, turning a
>good game into a great one.

Heh. The one and only redeeming quality from Space Quest VI was the
narration.

Garry Kibler

unread,
Feb 24, 1997, 3:00:00 AM2/24/97
to

No. Let's get this 'cheese sandwich' thing out in the open. I started
it.

I think my point was that there was no indicator that you needed to
feed the dog until MUCH later in the game. Solution: Back up to an
early saved game, and play your way through again. Not fair.


Garry

Garry Kibler

Admiral Jota

unread,
Feb 25, 1997, 3:00:00 AM2/25/97
to

aga...@peabody.sct.ucarb.com (Garry Kibler) writes:

>No. Let's get this 'cheese sandwich' thing out in the open. I started
>it.

>I think my point was that there was no indicator that you needed to
>feed the dog until MUCH later in the game. Solution: Back up to an
>early saved game, and play your way through again. Not fair.

It sounds like you're under the impression that it's necessary to feed the
dog at the very beginning of the game. That is not the case at all. If you
don't feed the dog when you first get the opportunity, you'll be able to
do it later, when you go back to Earth (as Ford). If Ford happens to be
the first person the improbability drive places you as, and you solve
all the other personas before discovering the importance of feeding the
dog, then that is tough luck -- but it's really not very likely to happen
that way. Anyway, I don't think the puzzle is *too* unfair (but if it was
necessary to feed the dog at the very beginning, it would be).

(Since I'm discussing this here, I guess I won't bother discussing it via
Email).

Toddy

unread,
Mar 2, 1997, 3:00:00 AM3/2/97
to

I.
Well, I don't know if you ever played the master in a role-playing
game, but if you did you know what obscure but still reasonable actions
the players will often take to achieve a specific goal (often as not
you didn't even think of the possibility before). Of course it is
impossible to 'simulate' a computer RPG-master, but the point I am
aiming at is that virtually everything you can do in reality should be
possible to do (like eating the famous cheese sandwich yourself). In
order to prevent the player from thus losing the game provision should
be made to enable him to achieve his goals in at least one or two
different ways (eg feed a burger or something else to the dog). There
should be as many logic solutions to a puzzle as possible.
For this you'll need more than single cursor so you don't do the right
thing automatially.
In essence what I want to see is a scenario where you can do A or B or C
(and not just A) to achieve X.
If there have to be things that can't be done for no obvious reason an
explanation should be given (eg a hint where to use an object more
appropriately).

II.
The story needs to be (or at least seemto be) obvious to the player. He
should generally know what he wants to achieve next. I think a great
example of this is Zork Nemesis where the player finds it obvious that
he has to save the alchemists although he has has no idea how to do
this. It should be clear to the player that THERE and THERE and THERE
are the problems he has to solve to get on.

III.
Following I. you can have complexity w/o frustration. If the player
can't solve a puzzle one way, he can just go away and find another one.
For example if the character needs a certain object to give it to
someone who has vital information, and the man tells him: Go and get me
thingy from X, and the player can't solve the puzzle at X he should be
able to go to Y and try a to solve an equally complex puzzle. Difficulty
being a very subjective thing he might just make it here. The person
who sent him would probably not care where thingy came from.
(Only applicable where logic, eg when person said "Get my aunt Mary" he
probably won't settle for aunt Lizzy).

IV.
Please no unnecessary FMV. It is okay where an NPC talks, of course, or
to illustrate the hero's actions, but any action the hero takes should
be ruled by the player. The player must be able to cut short any FMVs or
cut scenes, often as not he has seen them before, so ESC is a MUST.
Gameplay graphics should add to the atmosphere and usable objects should
not merge totally with the background - the result is the nauseating
pixel-hunting.

V.
Same thing as with graphics goes for sound and music. I don't think many
players want to sit through hours of talk. But communication with other
characters is necessary, so get good actors to do the talking.
For both graphics and sounds one rule must be regarded: they don't make
a great game, but they can spoil one.
They are but tools to add atmosphere and the background to the most
important thing of the game - the plot.

VI.
You could do me a personal favor and insert a parser-option. Thus you
create the feeling of even more freedom of choice, but my wish is purely
nostalgic and as many recent examples showed, a good game can do as well
without one.


- Toddy

Pietro Montelatici

unread,
Mar 4, 1997, 3:00:00 AM3/4/97
to

Toddy <tbo...@hrz.uni-bielefeld.de> wrote:

>[.......]


>possible to do (like eating the famous cheese sandwich yourself). In
>order to prevent the player from thus losing the game provision should
>be made to enable him to achieve his goals in at least one or two
>different ways (eg feed a burger or something else to the dog). There
>should be as many logic solutions to a puzzle as possible.
>For this you'll need more than single cursor so you don't do the right
>thing automatially.
>In essence what I want to see is a scenario where you can do A or B or C
>(and not just A) to achieve X.
>If there have to be things that can't be done for no obvious reason an
>explanation should be given (eg a hint where to use an object more
>appropriately).

Please let me say that there are at least two main problems to do that:
1. More solutions you insert to solve a puzzle, easier it is to solve. I mean if
you can open a door in 4-5 different ways it is much easier for the player to
find at least one.
2. A huge quantity of work would be lost. You open the door once and you would
not see the other 4 solutions (with their animations, objects, script, etc).
Developers don't like the idea to work on something that noone will see.
Moreover we have also to keep in mind that the developing time and fee are
almost fixed, I mean you cannot ask for x2/x3 time and money because you insert
x2/x3 different solutions to the puzzles, and this could lead to a general lower
quality. In the same number of months you can do more solutions with lower
quality or only one but very nice solution. You can hardly have both.

_____/\
\____ \ Pietro Montelatici - TRECISION
| .. \ http://www.trecision.com
|__||__/onte pmo...@trecision.com

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