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The Royal Archives => TSL General Archives => Topic started by: DavNomDan on March 25, 2011, 06:33:14 PM

Title: TSL Episode 3 - A very unfair Review IMHO !
Post by: DavNomDan on March 25, 2011, 06:33:14 PM
A review has been posted on what is maybe the premier Adventure webzine subtitled "My Only Love Sprung from My Only Hate".
Although I agree with some of its criticisms, I feel that overall it is unfair and does not do justice to Silver Lining – Episode 3.
I have just finished the episode. True, I got thrown out TWICE during the game onto the task bar of my desktop which certainly should not happen. But this only happened twice throughout this whole long episode – and each time, all I had to do was to click once and gameplay was continued normally and from the identical spot. I did not suffer at all from any of the horrendous technical tragedies described in the review!!
Reiterating my above opinion that the game is not without faults as so eloquently stressed in the review, nevertheless it has very many virtues which are not mentioned at all.  The graphics, the voice acting, the music, the gameplay, the interface, the cut-scenes, many of the puzzles and even the 'dreaded' action sequences are far and away above the quality of almost all freeware games. In fact, IMHO, the overall quality of this "indie" game far surpasses that of many recent big-budget commercial games costing plenty of dollars!! As a counterbalance, I think that to be fair, the review should have mentioned at least some of its pros instead of ignoring them all and emphasizing only its cons !
In this respect, I think that the reviewer's bad ratings of C+ and D  really do show a degree of his titled "HATE" which is a great pity and a disservice to all the talented and dedicated folk who developed this episode!
Title: Re: TSL Episode 3 - A very unfair Review IMHO !
Post by: Enchantermon on March 25, 2011, 06:43:46 PM
Would you mind linking the article please?
Title: Re: TSL Episode 3 - A very unfair Review IMHO !
Post by: KatieHal on March 25, 2011, 07:20:08 PM
I would be interested in seeing which article this is as well.

And we appreciate your support, Dav--we certainly understand that Episode 3 had its problems, especially technically, and those were more frustrating for some than others. Whoever the reviewer was, I do wish they'd contacted us about their technical issues so we could've helped them.
Title: Re: TSL Episode 3 - A very unfair Review IMHO !
Post by: DavNomDan on March 25, 2011, 07:38:57 PM
My comments were aimed at the review and not the Site - so here is the review itself : -------
11 March 2011.
When we last left The Silver Lining, King Graham’s children were locked in a coma-like state, cursed by some unknown evil entity. Graham was searching the Green Isles for spell ingredients to help combat the unknown plague when all of a sudden problems started to occur with Valanice, the Queen of Daventry.
Honestly, I was never sure exactly what those problems were with Valance but it appeared her face had morphed somewhat, and this episode alluded to the fact that she tried to jump off the balcony. In Episode 3, the story picks up right where it left off. Graham starts searching for more ingredients while also trying to find out what happened to Valanice.
Focus on the Task at Hand
Graham decides to focus on finding the ingredients for his children instead of dealing with Valanice’s problems. This time four ingredients are available in the surrounding lands. He needs to find the strength of the male, the voice of the female, a silver crescent moon, and some shaken up salt.
Unfortunately, this episode opens up no new islands for you to explore, so you’re going to retrace a lot of old ground looking for new clues and ingredients. Unfortunately, this episode has taken a turn for the worse with both logistics and technical issues.
My Kingdom for a Hint
First, I’d like to talk about the logistical issues related to this game. The puzzles are obtuse at best. You’ll find yourself doing a lot of guessing, experimentation, and some of the random “click everything until something happens” that often pollute lesser adventure games. The hints to puzzles are obtuse, misleading, and confusing. That is when hints should exist. At least two puzzles leave you scrambling on your own with no hint in sight.
I realize it is a fine balance in adventure games to naturally lead players to their next goal without making the game so easy it has no challenge. Silver Lining 3 has solved that in the worst way possible, by not leading the user in any direction. It is up to you to create your own path. Discovery of one ingredient does not give the user clues to another one. All items can be discovered almost independently of each other.
This frustration reminded me of King’s Quest 6, a game also set in the Green Isles. Perhaps it was done on purpose. KQ6 was pitched as a challenge because there were fewer areas to explore, but my personal belief is that it just made the game less fun and more frustrating.
This game also decided to throw in an arcade sequence in the middle of the game. Unfortunately, they just throw you in with no instructions or prep on how to control your character through the sequence. I died three times trying to figure out how to control Graham, but once I had figured it out was able to easily bypass the sequence. This segment was, in actuality, the most enjoyable part of the game, which says a lot.
A Crash a Day
Second, I’ll talk about the technical issues. I could not play the game for more than 1 hr without it crashing. As a result, there were quite a few scenarios I had to play through multiple times. I got in the habit of saving often. Occasionally the game would experience issues with audio dropout. When this happened, a reboot of my computer was the only fix. And finally, I found two conversations that went into dead ends, meaning I couldn’t exit out of them and had to force quit the game.
I went back and forth multiple times with the developers and they provided me two upgrades along the way. The “conversation lock” bug was fixed completely. I’m assured they are working hard to address the issues in the underlying engine so that Episode 4 runs much more smoothly. I suspect that the Episode 4 game engine upgrade will help solve a lot of the Episode 3 problems too. I’ll give them a plus for customer service.
Mysteries Left Unsolved
This game includes a big reveal that has caused some controversy in the fan community. It is a bit of a retcon of some past facts and takes some liberties with some of the characters and events. I think this reveal will play an important part in the remaining plot of The Silver Lining. There are also allusions, both in this game and in Part 2, that the land of the green isles is moving back in time. Maps are fading at the mapmaker’s hut and the Smith is having trouble making his creations stick as they often revert back to their former states. I’m unsure if my interpretation of these events is correct, but it’ll be interesting to see how things play out.
I finished playing Episode 2 excited for Episode 3. Unfortunately, Episode 3 has left a poor taste in my mouth. The frustration I had in completing the game has depleted my passion for continuing. Perhaps in another month or two, when Episode 4 comes out, I’ll be refreshed and ready to take another chance.

Final Grade: C+ once they fix the crashing bugs; D if not.
(find out more about our grading system)

  System Requirements:
Windows XP, Vista or 7
1GHz Intel or AMD Processor
512 MB RAM (1GB recommended for Vista and 7)
100% DirectX compatible video card with 256 MB video RAM
DirectX 9.0c+
Title: Re: TSL Episode 3 - A very unfair Review IMHO !
Post by: dark-daventry on March 25, 2011, 07:51:33 PM
Can you give us a link to the actual article though? We'd like to have the website name and a link to the article itself on file.
Title: Re: TSL Episode 3 - A very unfair Review IMHO !
Post by: snabbott on March 25, 2011, 07:55:52 PM
http://www.justadventure.com/reviews/SilverLiningEp3/SilverLiningEp3.shtm

Well, if he didn't like KQ6, it's not a big shock that he doesn't like TSL.
Title: Re: TSL Episode 3 - A very unfair Review IMHO !
Post by: wilco64256 on March 25, 2011, 08:00:50 PM
To be fair, he was initially playing the press version of the game which had the same bugs that were present in our initial public release.  I was able to help him get some of those resolved but yes we do need to work on the random crashing for our next episode.

I will disagree about the puzzles, if you look everywhere for hints you will find them and every puzzle has a very straightforward solution if you've been paying attention to things around you - one of the core elements of adventure gaming in general.

And he is also wrong about there being no new locations - the Isle of Mists was not available at all previously and the whole tower area was a brand new location as well.  He also said that KQ6 was more frustrating than fun, so if he's giving us the same type of score he'd give that game then I think we're happy with that.
Title: Re: TSL Episode 3 - A very unfair Review IMHO !
Post by: KatieHal on March 26, 2011, 06:14:06 AM
Oh,yes--I've already been in contact with him about that review. Some puzzles he just missed or misinterpreted the clues for, and others he didn't like for reasons I found to be more personal ones than really 'this was poorly designed' ones. It is unfortunate that he never got in touch with us about the bug problems, though, as we could've helped him out significantly there at the very least, I think.
Title: Re: TSL Episode 3 - A very unfair Review IMHO !
Post by: Cez on March 26, 2011, 01:52:47 PM
To be fair, he did get in touch with us about the bugs. Weldon an I got several emails from him and tried to help him through, but, there were crashes and that was on our side. He had way too many technical issues.
Title: Re: TSL Episode 3 - A very unfair Review IMHO !
Post by: DavNomDan on March 26, 2011, 03:48:41 PM
Quote
To be fair, he was initially playing the press version of the game which had the same bugs that were present in our initial public release.  I was able to help him get some of those resolved but yes we do need to work on the random crashing for our next episode.

OK - Let's forget about the crashes – it's most unfortunate that the review copies were insufficiently checked for serious technical bugs before distributing.  If they really WERE so terribly bad  as "A crash a day", they have certainly been enormously corrected since the couple ONLY that I experienced they didn't bother me at all !

If that were all then "fair enough" !! But I don't think that there was a single word of praise for the whole episode – only constant criticism and IMO that is not a balanced review.

Bad puzzles ?!? IIRC there was not a single one of the hackneyed puzzles that we get in so many commercial games these days – assembling torn up messages, acquiring the key from a locked room using a wire and a newspaper, getting a telephone # or a safe combination from some numbers &/or letters located elsewhere, etc. etc. That is apart from the fact that there are no sliders, mazes, musical puzzles, etc.
No mention of original puzzles like the refreshingly novel chess-checker-board puzzle, etc. No mention of the entertaining 'action' puzzle. Since nearly all of the 'classical' adventures had one or more, at least knocking the rider off his horse was interesting, fun, and not too difficult even for me to overcome (after 4 or 5 tries) who has pretty poor hand-eye coordination.
Quote
This game also decided to throw in an arcade sequence in the middle of the game. Unfortunately, they just throw you in with no instructions or prep on how to control your character through the sequence. I died three times trying to figure out how to control Graham, but once I had figured it out was able to easily bypass the sequence. This segment was, in actuality, the most enjoyable part of the game, which says a lot.
Surely the veteran reviewer knows that the whole point of an arcade-action sequence, especially this one which must have taken a LOT of tricky programming, is that the player should HAVE to repeat it a few times – if it's over in 29 seconds, it's not worth the work or effort.
To beat it in only 3 goes is more than par for the course.
This is a sort of backhanded compliment – a bit like "Have you stopped beating your wife ?".
Title: Re: TSL Episode 3 - A very unfair Review IMHO !
Post by: Arkillian on March 26, 2011, 05:36:45 PM
He can't be that good of a veteran. I'm a n00b at gaming and I got it in my second try when I noticed that the shadow dragons did things before they attacked. If he didn't feel excitement and stuff playing that sequence then he was already negative when he started it which is biased. Besides, it auto saves after the chase sequence. Big deal. You have to run up a short flight of stairs again. IT was all straight forward stuff to me :/
Title: Re: TSL Episode 3 - A very unfair Review IMHO !
Post by: DavNomDan on March 27, 2011, 07:48:32 AM
I don't really think it important how many times it took whoever to survive.  I believe that it's a matter of hand-eye coordination and dexterity which depend upon age, vision, manipulative abilities, and other physiological factors.

However, what disturbs me is the implication in the review that NO INSTRUCTIIONS ARE GIVEN.
Surely no instructions are needed ?? It's absolutely obvious what you have to do and in case it isn't the onscreen commands to "JUMP" make it 100% so!!
I don't see that there was any need to mention this aspect of the game at all, (and in a disparaging tone,) since nearly every 'classical' adventure has something analogous.
In addition, I would hardly call it an "arcade sequence" which is aimed at putting off some potential players – it is simply a short, and fairly easy, action-sequence.  
Title: Re: TSL Episode 3 - A very unfair Review IMHO !
Post by: Enchantermon on March 27, 2011, 02:30:23 PM
In addition, I would hardly call it an "arcade sequence" which is aimed at putting off some potential players – it is simply a short, and fairly easy, action-sequence.
But...that's what it is. Look at the VGA remake of Space Quest I. It has something similar, and it's called an arcade sequence.
Title: Re: TSL Episode 3 - A very unfair Review IMHO !
Post by: Arkillian on March 27, 2011, 03:14:32 PM
Yeah- if they need instructions for the arcade sequence, then they need instructions on how to play King's Quest.

I do understand however that some people wished to skip it cause their computer wasn't fast enough to play it. :( That'd be a reason to skip it. Or perhaps make it a movie sequence?
Title: Re: TSL Episode 3 - A very unfair Review IMHO !
Post by: Morwen on March 30, 2011, 04:21:12 PM
[
Quote
All items can be discovered almost independently of each other.
This frustration reminded me of King’s Quest 6, a game also set in the Green Isles. Perhaps it was done on purpose. KQ6 was pitched as a challenge because there were fewer areas to explore, but my personal belief is that it just made the game less fun and more frustrating.
To each their own opinion I guess but no wonder he found KQ6 frustrating if he had trouble doing the action sequence  :suffer:
Title: Re: TSL Episode 3 - A very unfair Review IMHO !
Post by: dark-daventry on March 30, 2011, 05:13:48 PM
No one badmouths KQ6 on my watch... That's considered one of the best video games of all time. It was included in Game Informers top 200 games of all time.
Title: Re: TSL Episode 3 - A very unfair Review IMHO !
Post by: Arkillian on March 30, 2011, 05:36:43 PM
That's unfair to say. Some people don't like the mechanics of it. That's up to them. I'm not going to argue with them as long as they don't try to convince me that it's inferior to how I see it. That's when I get ticked off.
Title: Re: TSL Episode 3 - A very unfair Review IMHO !
Post by: DavNomDan on March 31, 2011, 04:23:01 AM
The precise details are less important.
What upsets me is the whole crritcal negative tone of the Review.
      Instead of being pleased that a freeware game is of such a high standard and quality, as good and better that many commercial games, the review seems to be looking for every criticism it can dig up in order to run it down.
 UNFAIR  IMO !!  :'( ::)  >:(
Title: Re: TSL Episode 3 - A very unfair Review IMHO !
Post by: Buddy1991 on March 31, 2011, 05:09:53 AM
http://www.justadventure.com/reviews/SilverLiningEp3/SilverLiningEp3.shtm

Well, if he didn't like KQ6, it's not a big shock that he doesn't like TSL.

I was just about to write that too! I always read the 6th part was like - the best of all!

I haven't played Episode 3 yet, but some of the points of critique seem a little "out of hand", too. As I understood the review the author was pissed about the fact that all of the ingredients do not share a similarity (regarding the riddles), and that they do not give hints about the whereabouts of each other. I mean - seriously? Whatcha expecting? A ghost popping up and telling you where to go next when you find an ingredient?
Title: Re: TSL Episode 3 - A very unfair Review IMHO !
Post by: Cez on March 31, 2011, 04:01:59 PM
The precise details are less important.
What upsets me is the whole crritcal negative tone of the Review.
      Instead of being pleased that a freeware game is of such a high standard and quality, as good and better that many commercial games, the review seems to be looking for every criticism it can dig up in order to run it down.
 UNFAIR  IMO !!  :'( ::)  >:(

Your support is very much appreciated, and what fuels us to continue bringing great games to the community!
Title: Re: TSL Episode 3 - A very unfair Review IMHO !
Post by: Roivas on April 08, 2011, 12:32:31 PM
That's unfair to say. Some people don't like the mechanics of it. That's up to them. I'm not going to argue with them as long as they don't try to convince me that it's inferior to how I see it. That's when I get ticked off.

I'm afraid that good game design would disagree with that opinion. The most frustrating aspect of any game is when the player is given a task, they know what they should be doing, and cannot do it because the controls have them genuinely confused. The Shadow sequence comes out of nowhere and doesn't give any clues as to how it should be done.

I personally think that the Phoenix folk could've thrown us a small text box telling us the general idea instead of us resorting to trial and error. My first instinct was to go for the keyboard. When AGD remade King's Quest 2 they added in a sequence in which you have to race away from Man Shark creatures on a giant seahorse. Before the action sequence began they threw up a text window telling me the controls and I got through it flawlessly.

In Episode 3 I got to the dragon thing and was killed twice before I even got the hint that clicking on the sides to dodge was the idea. Any system in which the player's only recourse is to guess is a poor design decision and will drive away players.
Title: Re: TSL Episode 3 - A very unfair Review IMHO !
Post by: wilco64256 on April 08, 2011, 12:41:27 PM
That's unfair to say. Some people don't like the mechanics of it. That's up to them. I'm not going to argue with them as long as they don't try to convince me that it's inferior to how I see it. That's when I get ticked off.

I'm afraid that good game design would disagree with that opinion. The most frustrating aspect of any game is when the player is given a task, they know what they should be doing, and cannot do it because the controls have them genuinely confused. The Shadow sequence comes out of nowhere and doesn't give any clues as to how it should be done.

I personally think that the Phoenix folk could've thrown us a small text box telling us the general idea instead of us resorting to trial and error. My first instinct was to go for the keyboard. When AGD remade King's Quest 2 they added in a sequence in which you have to race away from Man Shark creatures on a giant seahorse. Before the action sequence began they threw up a text window telling me the controls and I got through it flawlessly.

In Episode 3 I got to the dragon thing and was killed twice before I even got the hint that clicking on the sides to dodge was the idea. Any system in which the player's only recourse is to guess is a poor design decision and will drive away players.

When you were playing the sequence did you see the areas of the screen with the flashing "Dodge" icons?  We felt it was pretty self-explanatory with those but then some people's computers weren't generating them properly.
Title: Re: TSL Episode 3 - A very unfair Review IMHO !
Post by: Roivas on April 08, 2011, 12:44:55 PM
I did see them but for some reason my first instinct was to reach for the arrow keys. I guess Indigo Prophesy and King's Quest 2 were the two major things going through my head at the time. I tested a couple of keyboard inputs before trying the mouse again. It didn't majorly detract from the experience, I was just saying that I can understand why some would be upset to be tossed into such a scenario.
Title: Re: TSL Episode 3 - A very unfair Review IMHO !
Post by: KatieHal on April 08, 2011, 01:20:40 PM
I have to say I disagree. I see what you're saying, but the game is entirely run by using the mouse, so it would seem to me that the natural inclination would be to continue using the mouse unless we said otherwise.

I also still think that the reviewer had, unfortunately, a rough time with the episode and took it out in his review. The bugs were a problem, yes, I will definitely admit that, but we are doing our best to address that for the future and did what we could to address it when those issues came up after release. The hints are there for every puzzle, however--and he even found them. He just didn't interpret them correctly, which I don't find to be a problem with the game design so much as just something that will happen to a player sometimes. It doesn't mean that the puzzle doesn't make sense just because you don't get it right the first time. We tried to make the puzzles follow a certain logic, gave clues to that logic, but there's only so much we can do before it's outright hand-holding that takes away from the very purpose of an adventure game to begin with.
Title: Re: TSL Episode 3 - A very unfair Review IMHO !
Post by: Roivas on April 08, 2011, 01:47:08 PM
I have to say I disagree. I see what you're saying, but the game is entirely run by using the mouse, so it would seem to me that the natural inclination would be to continue using the mouse unless we said otherwise.

It might seem natural to someone who has been involved in the game production but since you've now gotten feedback from at least two sources that state it isn't exactly the first choice, I would say that at least examining this as a legitimate complaint would be a good idea. Telling a player that they did something wrong with the puzzles is pretty easy to understand. The purpose of a Point and Click game is to have situations in which the answer isn't clear is exactly the point.

But if you plan to include sequences in a game that radically change the way the player interacts with the game giving us no hints as to the interface is a misstep. I knew exactly what I should be doing to avoid dying but the question I had right away was, HOW? and the game wasn't going to give up anything more than trial and error.

If you include another section like that in future episodes, that's fine. Just please keep in mind that a text box explaining the change to the interface is a good minimum to avoid these kinds of complaints.

Here's a good video that talks about tutorials and explains the major reason why we've gotta have something there and it might not seem clear to the people on the project.
http://www.escapistmagazine.com/videos/view/extra-credits/2921-Tutorials-101
Title: Re: TSL Episode 3 - A very unfair Review IMHO !
Post by: wilco64256 on April 08, 2011, 02:03:54 PM
Don't you think it would have taken all the effort out of that whole sequence though if we had a tutorial that just said "Click on the screen wherever you see a new icon?"  If we told you up front exactly what to do ("If you see dodge, then click where it says that to dodge") there'd be no challenge or learning at all.
Title: Re: TSL Episode 3 - A very unfair Review IMHO !
Post by: Roivas on April 08, 2011, 02:14:25 PM
Don't you think it would have taken all the effort out of that whole sequence though if we had a tutorial that just said "Click on the screen wherever you see a new icon?"  If we told you up front exactly what to do ("If you see dodge, then click where it says that to dodge") there'd be no challenge or learning at all.

If the challenge of a sequence is figuring out what the interface is in a PC game you may wish to rethink the sequence.

Just having a thing saying Use the Mouse would be enough for most.
Title: Re: TSL Episode 3 - A very unfair Review IMHO !
Post by: snabbott on April 08, 2011, 02:25:00 PM
I actually thought the flashing cursors were giving too much away.
Title: Re: TSL Episode 3 - A very unfair Review IMHO !
Post by: dark-daventry on April 08, 2011, 02:36:19 PM
You know what the funny thing is? The instant we addressed the puzzle difficulty with more difficult puzzles, we got ridiculed for puzzles that were too hard. I have a feeling the same thing is going to happen here; if we include another action sequence and tweak how it works, we'll get ridiculed for weirder controls than before or some such. We can't please everyone, and as much as we try to address these concerns, we still take the heat for listening to the concerns and addressing them.
Title: Re: TSL Episode 3 - A very unfair Review IMHO !
Post by: wilco64256 on April 08, 2011, 02:39:27 PM
If the challenge of a sequence is figuring out what the interface is in a PC game you may wish to rethink the sequence.

Just having a thing saying Use the Mouse would be enough for most.

That's the part of the suggestion that's throwing me off - you've been using the mouse for every other interaction for the entire game, it seems a bit redundant that I would need to throw up a text box saying, "Keep using the mouse."

If we wanted to implement keyboard controls, sure we would have put a popup there to tell people what the keyboard controls were, but since it was still using the mouse I didn't see any need to point that out again.

As snabbott mentioned above, I also actually thought the blinking cursors were almost too much of a giveaway in some of these areas but we felt it would be good to give the player some help.
Title: Re: TSL Episode 3 - A very unfair Review IMHO !
Post by: glottal on April 09, 2011, 08:03:15 PM
I'm no programmer, but would it be feasible to make the action sequence respond to both mouse and keyboard control?  That is, if I dodged by clicking the mouse, it would work, and if I dodged using by clicking the arrow keys, it would also work?

Personally, I think the action sequence is brilliant, and I think it had the right amount of instruction (I needed the 'dodge' and 'jump' indicators to tell me what the heck to do, but it didn't break the flow of the story like a pop-up instruction box would have).
Title: Re: TSL Episode 3 - A very unfair Review IMHO !
Post by: Roivas on April 09, 2011, 08:16:00 PM
I'm no programmer, but would it be feasible to make the action sequence respond to both mouse and keyboard control?  That is, if I dodged by clicking the mouse, it would work, and if I dodged using by clicking the arrow keys, it would also work?

I suppose I may have been out of lining calling it bad design. Though there are keyboard controls currently set as the default in the game. So it wouldn't be too difficult but I think that section's difficulty comes from clicking on the right space on the screen at the right time. It will kill most people the first time through but after you get used to the shift I guess it worked out okay.
Title: Re: TSL Episode 3 - A very unfair Review IMHO !
Post by: snabbott on April 09, 2011, 09:23:01 PM
I'm sure it could have been done. It would have taken (at least) a bit of extra programming and a whole lot of extra testing, though.
Title: Re: TSL Episode 3 - A very unfair Review IMHO !
Post by: bwman on April 11, 2011, 09:33:35 PM
I understood what to do for the most part in the arcade portion. In fact, I was so captivated by the sequence following it that I played that part again when I finished the episode. However, I do need to tell you one of the ghosts didn't appear on my screen the second time, which made dodging it a big challenge once the "dodge" flashing disappeared.
Title: Re: TSL Episode 3 - A very unfair Review IMHO !
Post by: darthkiwi on April 12, 2011, 05:23:18 AM
Quote
That's the part of the suggestion that's throwing me off - you've been using the mouse for every other interaction for the entire game, it seems a bit redundant that I would need to throw up a text box saying, "Keep using the mouse."

I will just say that, in my experience with games, mouse contol is always used for contemplative, complex actions (such as those found in an adventure game or an RTS), and keyboard control is always used for fast movements and action sequences. There are no platformers played by clicking, and the only action games which use the mouse either use it for freelook and leave the action movement to the keyboard, or use the mouse to draw gestures - which is secondary to the player's movement and is a very specialised action.

Sure, up until this point the player hasn't used the keyboard - but there have been no action sequences up to now. What you're effectively doing is changing the genre, and it's entirely possible that some players will instinctively reach for the contols that they associate with that genre. Other adventure games, such as Gemini Rue or the QFG2 remake, contain action sequences and switch to keyboard controls when they do, so it's natural that people might expect that.

I'm sure that this isn't a huge issue, and it sounds like it hasn't really impacted anyone's enjoyment of the game (unless, like the reviewer, they already disliked it), but just bear in mind that your goal as a designer is to make all players understand the game: if it's challenging then that's fine, but if it's actually obtuse then the design is flawed. The challenge of a really great design for a game or even just for an action sequence is to make it both accessible and challenging.

Having said that, I'm not sure how this sequence could be changed, but I just think you guys should bear this in mind for the future. I'm not trying to put you guys down, it's just that I'm aware that after TSL is done you'll start work on (what I presume is) a commercial project, and I really don't want you to do less well than you deserve because of imperfect design choices.
Title: Re: TSL Episode 3 - A very unfair Review IMHO !
Post by: Enchantermon on April 12, 2011, 05:42:06 AM
I would like to throw in my two cents and say that I instinctively used the mouse because I had been using it the entire game and had not been told by the game to do otherwise. This is very much a YMMV scenario.

By the way, this also applies to the SQI remake and KQII:RTS arcade sequences; I used the mouse by default.
Title: Re: TSL Episode 3 - A very unfair Review IMHO !
Post by: Roivas on April 13, 2011, 12:28:27 PM
Quote
That's the part of the suggestion that's throwing me off - you've been using the mouse for every other interaction for the entire game, it seems a bit redundant that I would need to throw up a text box saying, "Keep using the mouse."

I will just say that, in my experience with games, mouse contol is always used for contemplative, complex actions (such as those found in an adventure game or an RTS), and keyboard control is always used for fast movements and action sequences. There are no platformers played by clicking, and the only action games which use the mouse either use it for freelook and leave the action movement to the keyboard, or use the mouse to draw gestures - which is secondary to the player's movement and is a very specialised action.

Sure, up until this point the player hasn't used the keyboard - but there have been no action sequences up to now. What you're effectively doing is changing the genre, and it's entirely possible that some players will instinctively reach for the contols that they associate with that genre. Other adventure games, such as Gemini Rue or the QFG2 remake, contain action sequences and switch to keyboard controls when they do, so it's natural that people might expect that.

I'm sure that this isn't a huge issue, and it sounds like it hasn't really impacted anyone's enjoyment of the game (unless, like the reviewer, they already disliked it), but just bear in mind that your goal as a designer is to make all players understand the game: if it's challenging then that's fine, but if it's actually obtuse then the design is flawed. The challenge of a really great design for a game or even just for an action sequence is to make it both accessible and challenging.

Having said that, I'm not sure how this sequence could be changed, but I just think you guys should bear this in mind for the future. I'm not trying to put you guys down, it's just that I'm aware that after TSL is done you'll start work on (what I presume is) a commercial project, and I really don't want you to do less well than you deserve because of imperfect design choices.

I will completely agree with this and his point is put much better than I had. I think a tiny icon would've helped such as this one.

(http://1.bp.blogspot.com/_xuvfYwzKp7g/TFkV2jrDfNI/AAAAAAAAAoI/y6AU2OJwDdM/s320/MassEffect2+paragon+interrupt.jpg)

ME2 was far too easy to beat, but it did make clear what input needed to be used to make actions happen on the screen. Just something like that might help for later action sequences too. While they might seem redundant, they are simply a reinforcement of the mechanics that those who already know and can be ignored by the player in the know and then include the people who are outside that knowledge. It quickly includes people with almost no extra programming and a very simple graphic that doesn't intrude for too long.

I too thought that episode 3 was a great fun slice of the larger story. It had plenty of foreshadowing, a couple of good puzzles that took some digging to discover the solutions and everything was well hinted at to the point of it being fairly easy to solve with a little bit of clear minded thinking. There are areas to be improved to be sure, but I still enjoyed it.