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Phoenix Online Studios => The Silver Lining => General => Topic started by: dark-daventry on November 06, 2011, 03:08:08 PM

Title: Episode 4: Feedback and Thoughts
Post by: dark-daventry on November 06, 2011, 03:08:08 PM
So, now that Episode 4 is out, we'd like to know what you thought of it! What did we get right? Is there anything you'd like to see added/changed/removed for Episode 5? As always, please keep any plot-heavy information under spoiler tags and keep the feedback constructive. If you dislike the episode, that's fine and you are more than welcome to express why, we just ask that it be in a respectful manner. With that said, we're eager to know what you think!
Title: Re: Episode 4: Feedback and Thoughts
Post by: Damar on November 06, 2011, 05:40:44 PM
So far I'm liking the hedge maze.  It's about time we got to visit the Isle of the Beast.  Now if I can just get this save/restore game glitch under control, I can try to make some real progress in the episode without needing to restart every time I quit...
Title: Re: Episode 4: Feedback and Thoughts
Post by: dark-daventry on November 06, 2011, 06:56:07 PM
So far I'm liking the hedge maze.  It's about time we got to visit the Isle of the Beast.  Now if I can just get this save/restore game glitch under control, I can try to make some real progress in the episode without needing to restart every time I quit...

If you're having issues with save games, try posting in the tech board for help. I myself don't know how to fix the issue (my best advice is to restart the computer and/or game, but that's not very good advice XD), but Weldon is the resident tech guru here. There's nothing he can't fix.
Title: Re: Episode 4: Feedback and Thoughts
Post by: Fierce Deity on November 06, 2011, 08:42:18 PM
Well, so far, I endured a weird bug where the audio to the cinematics would play out but the actual video for the cinematics would not. There was also a cinematic in the beginning where a certain princess and a certain evil, robed man were conversing, and while the evil man was moving around and talking, the princess was frozen while her audio track played. I have resorted to reinstalling the Episode 1-4 bundle instead of just the patch. I hope that fixes everything. But from what I've seen (which was not much), I am pretty excited for the game's premise. I'll come back with legitimate feedback as soon as I get the game working.  :P
Title: Re: Episode 4: Feedback and Thoughts
Post by: tessspoon on November 06, 2011, 08:44:44 PM
Loving it thus far, as always :)
Title: Re: Episode 4: Feedback and Thoughts
Post by: lisaretz on November 06, 2011, 09:41:01 PM
This is very exciting! I have waited all day to play this game! Really enjoyed the first three episodes! I have been having a blast playing the fourth episode, however, I attempted to save the game and died, but the game was not saved... This is my third attempt to save the game and no luck. I want to continue playing, but do not want to start from the beginning each time... any ideas? I restarted my computer and the fourth attempt still did not save... You guys have done an awesome job on this game! I am not a gammer, but I am addicted to this game. I was very excited to see that someone had finally followed up on the Kings Quest series... that was my favorite game growing up! Congrats to you!
Title: Re: Episode 4: Feedback and Thoughts
Post by: wilco64256 on November 06, 2011, 09:50:18 PM
This is very exciting! I have waited all day to play this game! Really enjoyed the first three episodes! I have been having a blast playing the fourth episode, however, I attempted to save the game and died, but the game was not saved... This is my third attempt to save the game and no luck. I want to continue playing, but do not want to start from the beginning each time... any ideas? I restarted my computer and the fourth attempt still did not save... You guys have done an awesome job on this game! I am not a gammer, but I am addicted to this game. I was very excited to see that someone had finally followed up on the Kings Quest series... that was my favorite game growing up! Congrats to you!

Hey Lisa I actually already replied to you on this on a different thread, check back on your previous posts for help.
Title: Re: Episode 4: Feedback and Thoughts
Post by: Hbech on November 06, 2011, 11:11:25 PM
After receiving some excellent advice by Wilco, I was able to install the full build on my Windows 7 system with no problems at all and rather quickly I might add. Also, my saving issues were resolved by installing the program to C:/TSL. And let me just say this, those opening scenes played FLAWLESSLY on high settings with all boxes ticked. Animations and transitions between cutscenes were smooth and beautiful! I tested saving and restoring, and they both work perfectly as well. And those cutscenes were awesome, especially Cassima's speech! I can't wait to start playing tomorrow in greater depth as I need some sleep before I go to work in the morning! Just from the first few minutes, I can already tell this is going to be an awesome episode and you guys rock! So worth the wait!
Title: Re: Episode 4: Feedback and Thoughts
Post by: Fierce Deity on November 06, 2011, 11:34:33 PM
I got it working. It's playing great so far. The hedge maze was a little underwhelming, but it's no big deal. I've figured out a few of the puzzles, but now that every island is open to my disposal, searching for puzzles and items has now become exponentially greater since the first episode.  :P
Title: Re: Episode 4: Feedback and Thoughts
Post by: glottal on November 07, 2011, 01:58:18 AM
I just had my first session.  It's great again, and it's so nice to be able to explore new areas.  I had forgotten what the dialogue was like, so I, uh, laughed at the particularly melodramatic lines (of course, I would sometimes laugh at the melodramatic lines in the original KQ games too, but TSL seems to have a much greater effect in that regard).

If you're curious about how far I got in my first session, this is what I accomplished:

I managed to get the black rose, but I have yet to figure out how to get Graham's blood on it.  I've been to the Isle of Wonder and know that I have to find the White King, but so far no further progress on that front.  I also got the memory crystal from the Isle of Mists.  I got Pan's lute, but have no idea why I need it (or the other musical instruments) yet.

I don't want hints (yet), this is just a progress report in case people are curious how far I got in my first session.
Title: Re: Episode 4: Feedback and Thoughts
Post by: daventry on November 07, 2011, 04:42:16 AM
So far i like Ep4, but the Narriator is starting to annoy me with her Insults, im Insane in my head for trying to play the Flute or Bango, apparently i cant speak to Sing Sing either, everything i try to do or is tick tock tick tock.
Title: Re: Episode 4: Feedback and Thoughts
Post by: hrpeanut on November 07, 2011, 08:19:24 AM
When will the soundtrack be out for the 3'rd and 4'th Episodes?
Title: Re: Episode 4: Feedback and Thoughts
Post by: KatieHal on November 07, 2011, 08:21:08 AM
Volume 2 of the TSL Soundtrack will come out when we have all of the music for Episode 5 as well--it'll be three episodes worth, instead of just two.
Title: Re: Episode 4: Feedback and Thoughts
Post by: AzzyGale on November 07, 2011, 11:50:59 AM
The soundtrack IS unbearably haunting....

And this "reverting" theme makes me want to cry....

Goodness, you people are pulling at all of my heartstrings. 

I'm growing curious, as I progress, about that ranger guy...

Also, loved the maze..

Title: Re: Episode 4: Feedback and Thoughts
Post by: Demidronik on November 07, 2011, 11:53:37 AM
Having Graham able to swim through the air makes episode 4 much easier. :suffer:
(http://i990.photobucket.com/albums/af30/varder_kiften/swimming.jpg)
Title: Re: Episode 4: Feedback and Thoughts
Post by: dark-daventry on November 07, 2011, 12:03:08 PM
Having Graham able to swim through the air makes episode 4 much easier. :suffer:
(http://i990.photobucket.com/albums/af30/varder_kiften/swimming.jpg)

HAHAHA XD That's awesome! I don't know if it compares to the Graham walking on water bug I encountered while testing the mac  build. Still, this is awesome.
Title: Re: Episode 4: Feedback and Thoughts
Post by: snabbott on November 07, 2011, 12:32:06 PM
Interesting... That used to happen whenever you loaded a saved game at the Isle of the Sacred Mountain shore, but it was fixed. ???
Title: Re: Episode 4: Feedback and Thoughts
Post by: tessspoon on November 07, 2011, 12:36:02 PM
Having Graham able to swim through the air makes episode 4 much easier. :suffer:
(http://i990.photobucket.com/albums/af30/varder_kiften/swimming.jpg)
XD lol I got that too, when the hot air balloon dropped me off.
Title: Re: Episode 4: Feedback and Thoughts
Post by: aeisa on November 07, 2011, 01:40:12 PM
Please don't be disheartened by what I have to say, because I'm incredibly grateful that you guys are putting so much into this game and you've made an amazing product overall, but I've been a bit disappointed in this episode.  I'm not 100% through it yet, and as usual the acting and animation are splendid and I've found some real laughs but I just had to comment on one thing in particular because I can't believe how annoyed it has made me; I cannot remember being this frustrated at a game since I was a kid.  In a spoiler box, because of reasons!

In all my years of gaming, the pandora's box puzzle with the spinning symbols is the worst designed puzzle I have ever encountered.  It is frustrating for all the wrong reasons - not because it takes skill, or timing, or the odd few false starts we all expect in a KQ-style before you work out what you're dong - but because it is the worst kind of false difficulty.  Once the circles start rotating and swapping it becomes almost impossible to clear simply because the interface is so bad, a fact made a thousand tims worse by the narrator's incessant 'Do something quickly!' (which is even MORE annoying with voice turned off because of the popping text box) every time you misclick.  This puzzle is not difficult, it is just time-wasting.  It might have been alright if it didn't take so long, but there are also SO MANY SYMBOLS to solve that the irritated frustration at repetition overtakes the satisfaction of working out to do almost immediately.  What on earth was the point of the 'three strikes and you're out' system when by the time you are on the last symbol (the point at which I quit in disgust after 20 minutes) the symbols are spinning and swapping so quickly (less than 3 seconds sometimes, making clicking anything impossible) that you are relying on random chance to hit the right buttons anyway?  I tried applying logic to it - tracking what circle was what quarter by picking some iconic symbols - but so many of them are so similar and appear so often that it reners it all useless, especially as one accidental click - so easy when it all goes so fast - means you have to start the symbol all over again.  I'm sorry to have to say this, and please don't think I'm just greeting because it is too hard (I know you included an easy option, but that doesn't take away from my point that the mechanism of the puzzle is fundamentally badly designed).  Even if you removed the exploding symbol part that might make it a bit more tolerable, but to be honest any puzzle which relies on the difficulty of chasing the icons acrossthe screen rather than the ability to work out what should go where is going to feel like a let down.

Hopefully this will give you some food for thought; as I say, I'm behind you 100% and I firmly believe you guys will go on to create even more exciting and successful games than TSL.  So, I hope that you can avoid things like this in your future games.  When I have time to clear the episode, I'll be sure to write you guys a more extensive review, including all the positives as well as the negatives I've found.  The balance has been so much to your credit, I was very disappointed to start the long awaited section of
playing Valanice
opened on such an irritating note.
Title: Re: Episode 4: Feedback and Thoughts
Post by: flitchard on November 07, 2011, 05:16:42 PM
Heh, I got a bit annoyed with that too, but it felt SO good when I figured it out myself!
Title: Re: Episode 4: Feedback and Thoughts
Post by: tessspoon on November 07, 2011, 05:23:53 PM
I got all but two, got frustrated with it and started over again with the easy option. :P
Title: Re: Episode 4: Feedback and Thoughts
Post by: waltzdancing on November 07, 2011, 05:30:05 PM
It is not that hard of a puzzle, it just requires a lot of patience. You can do it :)
Title: Re: Episode 4: Feedback and Thoughts
Post by: mattthemansmith on November 07, 2011, 06:17:16 PM
just got through it and not bad only came across 1 bug and it just and was at the end which meant i couldnt select anything but a second time was ok. loved the little story twists tho didnt like the maze as graham kept getting stuck on the hedges for me :P tho the blood bathed rose stumped me.

overall good work alot more story which has mostly come together with still a few unanswered questions hopefully will be fully explained in the next episode as has got me wondering something else *thinking cap activate*
Title: Re: Episode 4: Feedback and Thoughts
Post by: Tolin on November 07, 2011, 06:39:36 PM
*smirks*  I can appreciate the frustration... I expressed that same frustration to Cesar, which is why - aside from my testing duties - I played exclusively on Easy for that.  It kept me from breaking my mouse.   :suffer:
Title: Re: Episode 4: Feedback and Thoughts
Post by: wilco64256 on November 07, 2011, 07:29:16 PM
Haha yeah, I suppose I should have labeled those buttons "Easy" and "Hell."  It is pretty tough on the Normal mode, but that actually is the original mode we started with and the Easy was created after the team got through the normal one and gave us some feedback on it.

It's definitely nice to complete Normal mode, there's a feeling of real accomplishment in completing it.
Title: Re: Episode 4: Feedback and Thoughts
Post by: flitchard on November 07, 2011, 08:26:08 PM
Er, what's the difference?

In normal, do the wheels appear and disappear? Or, is that easy?
Title: Re: Episode 4: Feedback and Thoughts
Post by: wilco64256 on November 07, 2011, 08:27:03 PM
In normal mode the appearing and disappearing is the least of your concerns.
Title: Re: Episode 4: Feedback and Thoughts
Post by: Hbech on November 07, 2011, 09:34:36 PM
Just finished it, I just couldn't stop once I got started. Best episode so far, hands down, never crashed on me once. It was well worth the wait, you guys hit it out of the park on this one! Loved all the cut scenes, especially the ending ones, and boy did those arcade sequences take me a while to figure out even on easy mode! I still have a couple of questions about the plot that I'm sure will be answered in episode 5 but you guys did awesome! And, unlike Episode 3, I got to see the end credits! Woo hoo! Round of applause!  :bow: :bow:
Title: Re: Episode 4: Feedback and Thoughts
Post by: Elasa11 on November 07, 2011, 10:19:24 PM
Loved it. <3 I could not stop as soon as I started. I think I will enjoy it a bit more the second time around because I was going back and forth between the Isle of the Sacred Mountain and the Isle of the Beast constantly. XD The game only had one hiccup but I got it resolved. The termites were funny. For some reason I guessed exactly what they were going to sound like. XD Flying around with the winged shoes was really cool. Your episodes get better and better. I'm really excited about the next one. :D You left on a total cliffhanger X( Keep up the good work people! Thank you so much! Bow before awesomeness!  ;D  8)  :D

(Posted on: November 08, 2011, 01:18:47 AM)


Having Graham able to swim through the air makes episode 4 much easier. :suffer:
(http://i990.photobucket.com/albums/af30/varder_kiften/swimming.jpg)
XD lol I got that too, when the hot air balloon dropped me off.
I had this happen to me too. Lol XD
Title: Re: Episode 4: Feedback and Thoughts
Post by: seir on November 07, 2011, 11:15:15 PM
I'm just going to share some of my thoughts that I already sent in email with Katie--gotta put it out here for the rest of you to see (and a bit more added from what I said in the email)!

Absolutely great game, it's easily one of my favorite games of all times.  I've been meaning to write something since I found out about the game earlier this year and played through episodes 1-3.  You did a fantastic job and you really feel a connection with all of the characters.  Actually, your game has given me much more of a connected feeling with Graham and his family than any of the actual King's Quest games ever did!  I just finished the game! Very well done! Bravo!

Wow! The Pandora's box scene was tense!  I kept worrying that Shadrak might kill Rosella if I messed up too many times, or took too long (I did Normal mode for the puzzle... (P.S. You're all "sadistic designers" ;P )).  Even after I'd gotten pretty far into the puzzle and it seemed like the game would most likely give me all the time I needed, I still felt very tense from it, because I didn't *know* that for sure.  In fact, I still don't know for sure whether messing up too many times in a row will make Shadrak kill Rosella... I was being very careful NOT to get more than two "red failure" attempts in a row at any given time.  Wow, just WOW!

I did get a little frustrated by the time I had spent enough time to get the first few icons, but I'm glad that I never had to re-load to do it all over again (having to reload several times WOULD have made hate this scene). I think the scene was handled very well, actually, there aren't many game scenes that have ever made me feel that tense AND not gotten me angry from having to do them over again a thousand times. It felt GOOD when I got through it! :)

It took an entire day off to get through it--my original plans for my day off had fallen through, so that freed me up to play through the game (mixed blessing ;) ).

Looking forward to the final episode!

Now, I've got to get to sleep--I've got work tomorrow... Uhmmm... Today.
Title: Re: Episode 4: Feedback and Thoughts
Post by: daventry on November 08, 2011, 01:41:01 AM
Man what a Frustrating Episode this was, i understood Nothing and could barely hear what People are saying, the Music and Sound is incredibly out of sync and i thought this Ep would answer our Questions as to how Valanice knew Graham before she met the guy and why Manannan seems like a Nice Guy at first.

It would be nice if there is a section just for Cutscenes and Cinematics, sometimes i accidentally click and then i skip it, thus i dont have a Save Game.

Wait, werent we suppose to leave The Green Isles in Ep4, i thought we were going to Daventry.

I smell a Ep6 or Ep5 is just gonna Cut the Ending like Tales of Monkey Island that leaves a Climax that will never be made
Title: Re: Episode 4: Feedback and Thoughts
Post by: karamazov on November 08, 2011, 02:13:22 AM
Just finished episode 4. Great work! However I liked episode 3 more. It was more epic and the puzzles felt more complete and more satisfying. Also it may be just an impression, because it's been a long time since I played episode 3, but episode 4 felt shorter. Still a very fun game and all the puzzles related to the beast's maze were great. It felt really good solving them. One thing only. It seemed a bit awkward for the clues to magically appear in Graham's scroll. I think it would be better if they were found somewhere in the garden or the castle or something. But apart from that, I would definitely say that everything about the beast's maze was the best part of this episode.
Pandora's box puzzle and the little arcade sequence at the end were also good. Played on normal, they were tense and difficult enough to be enjoyably infuriating, without crossing the line to become plain infuriating.
On the technical side everything was very fluid. There were however a few lip-syncing issues and sometimes the volume of the dialogue and the narration was uneven or low. Nothing major though.
Right now there are too many plot threads left hanging, but I hope the final episode will bring a satisfying closure to the story. Keep up the good work!
Title: Re: Episode 4: Feedback and Thoughts
Post by: aeisa on November 08, 2011, 04:15:47 AM
It is not that hard of a puzzle, it just requires a lot of patience. You can do it :)

This is precisely my pont; on normal, it geuinely isn't hard - as in challenging any skills you may have - it's just irritating.  There's no satisfaction because there's nothing to work out.  Patience is a virtue in some respects, but not when the puzzle is frankly tedious; enduring something rubbish doesnt make you in any way worthy.  I DID complete it on normal mode - it is ingrained in my psyche that easy route = less satisfying cinematics (thank you Cassima on KQVI short route, although I realised this  probably wasnt true here, but still, you shouldn't have to pick 'easy' to make a puzzle workable) - and I have to say I didn't find it satisying or feel any sense of accomplishment, just a relief it was finally over and irritation that it had taken up so much time.  I guess the point I'm making is that frustration and difficuty are not the same thing.  I decided to check out easy mode and finished it incredbily quickly, which rather proves my point; once you take away the interface shennanigans the puzzle is in no way complicated or challenging, just a bit dull (and still too long).  I'm not maligning the designers; I just wanted to share my experience to help you avoid this sort of thing in future games.  It's the difference between defeating Ganon at the end of Zelda OOT - which can be really difficult, but is fundamentally a logical mechanism which you have to crack and keep cracking - and...I dont know, I cant think of a super irritating boss off the top of my head...one with a stupid weakness mechanic.  I firmly believe that its poor puzzle design when the difficulty is not in working out the answer but in convincing the game to let you input it.  

Anyway, full review to follow!
Title: Re: Episode 4: Feedback and Thoughts
Post by: seir on November 08, 2011, 06:27:28 AM
I think it was supposed to be frustrating, rather than hard.  Imagine how frustrated, and tense, Valenice would have been in the situation--it brings the player into her shoes.  It's definitely the kind of puzzle that could have gotten me very angry if handled slightly differently.  However, the puzzle kept me right at that frustrated and tense level, teetering into the irritated zone now and then, but without ever boiling over to outright PO'd.

Yeah, it could have been shorter, I definitely had several "Agh, how many more do I need to go?!" moments.

To me, it felt good afterward, not because it was hard, but because it was just a relief to get it over with without having to reload, and because it hadn't pushed me to outright anger.  Forcing me to start over, with even a single re-load (especially if it came several minutes into it), would have put me solidly in agreement with you--it was a very fine line.

(Posted on: November 08, 2011, 09:00:01 AM)


Oh, and I meant to give a little constructive criticism about the maze.

After I'd gotten the directional clues, I worked it out pretty quickly and went straight to the correct spot, however, after I dug, Graham found... Nothing. So, I slightly adjusted Graham's stance and again found nothing. I was about to start digging up every spot in the corner, but then I thought "No, they wouldn't make the exact spot to dig that precise in this day and age."  Meaning, if it was 15 years ago, I would have definitely expected pixel hunting and dug up every pixel that corner to find it.  But, I wouldn't expect that kind of precision these days--I already figured out the riddle, shouldn't have to then hunt for the exact pixel to dig.

Because of that, I thought maybe I'd misinterpreted the puzzle (I hadn't), and tried to see if there was some other spot it could be.  However the place that made any sense to me was my original interpretation.  So I did what every good adventurer would do... I started digging up other random corners and intersections all over that quadrant of the maze.

The same thing happened later when I tried finding the lock section--though I did try a few random places first, before trying to work out from the clues in the photo where it might be--once I figured that out, I dug exactly once in the correct corner and didn't find anything.

In all I probably wasted more than half an hour AFTER I'd already figured out the correct directions, trying to re-interpret the clues and try random luck, just because there was more pixel hunting than I expected in a modern game.

The game then crashed when I tried to save at some point--possibly related to all the whole's I'd dug in the maze, and it corrupted my save file, so I came to the hint board and saw that the spots were in fact where I'd dug, so I loaded it up again, started from the beginning of the game and went and dug up those corners again.  I had to dig two different spots right next to each other in the key corner to get the correct spot, and I had to dig three different spots, all partially overlapping each other, in the lock corner to find that correct spot.

Moral of the story: In the future, you should give a wider radius of acceptable digging spots (or other searching method for any similar type of puzzle).  Digging anywhere in the correct corners should have gotten the buried items.

Another tip:  For a free game, I have no problem with some of the clipping in the game (Azure's wing, for example, or in the opening scene with Rosella, notice how the reflections in the snowy water aren't anchored to the actual items that go into the water (look under the round thing on the left).  And in fact I don't really have too much problem with it even for a paid game.  However, for your coming commercial project, you'll definitely want to make sure things like that are polished up a bit more.
Title: Re: Episode 4: Feedback and Thoughts
Post by: snabbott on November 08, 2011, 07:52:44 AM
Man what a Frustrating Episode this was, i understood Nothing and could barely hear what People are saying, the Music and Sound is incredibly out of sync and i thought this Ep would answer our Questions as to how Valanice knew Graham before she met the guy and why Manannan seems like a Nice Guy at first.

It would be nice if there is a section just for Cutscenes and Cinematics, sometimes i accidentally click and then i skip it, thus i dont have a Save Game.

Wait, werent we suppose to leave The Green Isles in Ep4, i thought we were going to Daventry.

I smell a Ep6 or Ep5 is just gonna Cut the Ending like Tales of Monkey Island that leaves a Climax that will never be made
I'm sorry to hear you had trouble with the audio. I didn't have any issues, so it could be something with your setup. Do you have powered external speakers? That might help. As far as missing the dialogue, you can turn on subtitles in the Audio options.

You shouldn't be able to accidentally skip cutscenes - you should get a prompt asking if you want to skip it. You can skip individual lines of dialogue - I don't think there's much that can be done about that.

Ep4 is the last episode in the Green Isles. I've read the plot for Episode 5, and there is definitely a real ending.
Title: Re: Episode 4: Feedback and Thoughts
Post by: batsu-sama on November 08, 2011, 10:53:33 AM
Finally finished Ep4, ended up having to play it on my laptop though, for some reason I was having the bug where you could not see the nymph/lamp salesman/balloon tour people.

Personally I liked the fight against shadrack, thought the pandora's box event was obnoxious as all hell though, particularly on 'normal' mode (not that this is necessarily a BAD thing, but I would not recommend attempting it while you are tired, you'll just end up putting your fist through the monitor as I was tempted to do before I reloaded in easy mode).

Looking forward to the final episode :)
Title: Re: Episode 4: Feedback and Thoughts
Post by: oberonqa on November 08, 2011, 01:14:55 PM
I have to agree with what has been already stated about the puzzle that has been the topic of discussion.  It's definitely not a difficult puzzle from a logic standpoint... but it is infuriating due to the added mechanics.  Towards the end I was literally clicking on symbols at random until I got 2-3 pieces that connected together and then found the actual symbol I was apparently building and tried to pick the 4th piece. The UI design of the puzzle also increased the frustration factor, which resulted in triggering a narrator response rather than triggering a piece selection.  Once the wheels really get into the groove of things, I ended up triggering the narrator as often as I triggered a piece selection.  The added mechanics certainly added to the frustration meter equally, but the UI design really stands out to me.  It's a clever puzzle that ended up getting over-saturated with added mechanics that took away the logic and turned it into a repetition puzzle that relied more on patience than logic, especially when the UI design (or lack therof, depending on your take on the situation) is thrown into the mix.

I hope there are no Zodiac puzzles in Episode 5 (the Zodiac puzzle in Episode 3 was also rather infuriating, but at least that one was a logic puzzle without much in the way of added mechanics)... but I have a sneaking suspicion there might be one thrown in just to add time to the playthrough.

The only other part that I found infuriating was the...

Shadrack fight.  Seriously... I get that it's basically rock-paper-scissors but what on earth is the deal with spinning the amulet around when Shadrack rocks the boat?!?!?  I had to retry that section many times not because I couldn't figure out the timings and visual queues of Shadracks attacks and what to click to avoid what attack... or that the earth attack is the only attack you want to use against Shadrack until the very end... but because Shadrack would randomly rock the boat as his attack and your not given much of a chance to do anything to counter it.  I know there's a way to counter it and I know it has to do with the dodge arrows on either side of the amulet, but by spinning the amulet around, I found it impossible to react in time.  Ultimately I beat Shadrack through sheer luck in that I got through it without him rocking the boat.

Overall the episode was a lot of fun, sans the infuriating bits.  I had a similar problem with some of the puzzles in KQ3 Redux.  It's not just a matter of having a hayday making puzzles for people to figure out.  You have to create puzzles that make sense logically to the player AND you have to create puzzles that don't rely on cheap gimmicks to convey difficulty.  This is something that Sierra was criticized for many times in fan letters and articles over the years in Sierra Interaction (and yes, I do read every word that is in the Sierra Interaction issues as I convert them into wiki format... hence why I have been taking a break from it and there haven't been updates).  Ultimately, as Sierra's designers became more savvy and more proficient at puzzle design, they moved away from gimmicks (for the most part) and instead designed puzzles that genuinely challenged the mind as opposed to challenging one's patience.  

Moral of the story is take the feedback of your beta testers seriously.  They are there to provide feedback on the game... but that feedback is useless if you put your heads in the sand and disregard the feedback because the testers aren't "getting it" or are otherwise not-in-the-know.  Beta testers are supposed to represent your target gaming audience and if they aren't "getting it", there's a very strong chance your target gaming audience isn't going to "get it" and you end up with people talking about infuriating puzzle design.  I am sure the puzzles in EP4 that are being discussed as infuriating were brought up by the beta testers at some point (I'm making that assumption based on the idea that beta testers are supposed to represent the target gaming audience and as such are supposed to be impartial, providing feedback and criticism based on the gameplay experience and not external influences such as pedigree of the team, hype of the product, etc).

I have high hopes for Episode 5... but here's hoping the puzzles are logic-heavy and gimmick-light.  Episode 3 had it's gimmick-heavy puzzle and Episode 4 had it's gimmick-heavy puzzle.  I for one am hoping Episode 5 has more in common with Episode 2's puzzles (where were indeed logic-heavy and gimmick-light).  

Just my two-cents.  :)
Title: Re: Episode 4: Feedback and Thoughts
Post by: AzzyGale on November 08, 2011, 04:57:39 PM
Puzzles or not, I am more interested in the story, specifically characters. I mentioned earlier that you leave me with a breaking heart. I feel a lot of affinity towards your deppened characters.

This cannot ever be resolved, unfortunately and so it looks to me like Graham's tragic fate has been sealed. I am dreading episode 5...because this story could go on forever in circles, depending on how the series will close.
It's a pity we will only get to see a closure, not an ending...Closure leaves a lot of things open to imagination and does not grant pleasaure. I am not a big fan of this, but you have little choice in the matter. Everyone is so tragic in this fan continuation. And everyone is so utterly and heart-wrenchingly alone. 
I, really really pity poor graham...he's such a silly pawn and doesn't know it. Makes want to kick something. I know this has been hanging over him since the beginning of the series, but the way you brought it out is just a sparkling gem of storytelling, that's what it is.

And all good storytelling always ends in a thoughtful way- meaning in closure, not an ending.  I don;t suppose the Beast will ever turn back again either, unless in some fan fiction piece.

I take it it's Valanice that is the second playable character since we got to play her...then episode 5 should be interesting, but it makes me sad that it;s only the last episode that is left.

 What I also loved that at least the tragic protagonist that he is, graham at least got to experience everything there is - from love to death, from Wing One's City (absolutely gorgeous) to depths of ocean...from mysterious realms and vampires and fairies, from self-refilling bowls of food to wise owls.  As it is, I feel he is a character ripe for an ultimate sacrifice. 

It has been a series full of magic. Whatever happens, I just hope his sacrifices and adventures won't be in vain.

Will be waiting for the closure.




Title: Re: Episode 4: Feedback and Thoughts
Post by: Lambonius on November 08, 2011, 05:18:54 PM
Guys, let's not forget that these people are amateurs breaking into a professional industry.  Crappy puzzle design is to be expected from time to time.  Sure, team arrogance probably had something to do with it.  From what I can tell, a lot of criticisms fall on deaf ears if certain individuals on the team already have their minds made up a certain way.  Ah well, what can you do?  They'll learn, or they'll fail professionally.  Simple as that.
Title: Re: Episode 4: Feedback and Thoughts
Post by: Damar on November 08, 2011, 06:27:39 PM
Ok, just finished the game and I thought I'd wait to post what I thought of it, because quite frankly I'm pissed off, but I'm going ahead and posting anyway.  I'll get to why I'm irritated in a minute, but might as well start with the good.

As always, I really like the music.  The game itself was also pretty, though like someone else said, there was some clipping issues.  I didn't really care either since it's a fan game.  I also really enjoyed the maze.  In fact, I really wished it had been bigger.  It was pretty basic, actually since most of the maze you could see was inaccessible.  I also wish you hadn't had to cheat to get to the castle.  Normally I'm not a fan of mazes in games, but the overhead view made it much more accessible.

Ok, now for the kind of picky things.  I wasn't a fan of Pan's voice (it looks like he wasn't even listed in the credits.)  To be fair, though, I really don't know what I imagine Pan sounding like.  I couldn't even tell you if he has a high or low voice, so me saying I don't like it isn't exactly fair.  What I can say, though, is I don't like how he was written.  Having him refer to himself as "one" constantly just didn't work.  It was annoying and difficult to follow.  But he wasn't really a major character, so not a huge deal.

I also don't really like the fact that everything is moving backwards.  At the risk of being that nerd who actually analyzes these things, it just doesn't make sense.  Events are moving backwards, yet other things are moving forward.  The curse obviously doesn't get undone, and clearly everyone is still aware that Alex and Rosella were cursed, even as they're becoming unaware of other things (Shamir unlearns spells and the chess pieces replay their game, unaware it already happened, though Graham knows.)  The banner is suddenly hanging again while the tree still blocks the way to the beach.  Like I said, I stop short of being that nerd who analyzes it and gets indignant about such things (I save that level of geekdom for Star Trek) but these inconsistencies kind of scratch at the back of my head.  Was it really necessary to have time revert?  Why not just have things being undone completely and disappear, since that achieves the same result story-wise (though people when then accuse you of ripping off Neverending Story.)  And actually, for that matter, what is the Black Cloaks' endgame?  Completely undoing the world in which they live?  Doesn't that hurt them just as much as everyone else?  The story says that they're ambitious and corrupt, but ambitious people don't want to undo the world, they just want to rule it.  Like I said, these are picky points, but they are points that kind of stick in the back of my head because they just don't quite fit together.

Moving on to the more frustrating items, which was the puzzle design.  The first thing that bothered me was getting the horn.  Mainly, Graham goes around asking everybody for everything, guilting them into it by saying it will help his children.  But to get the horn, he doesn't even bring that up to Beast, and instead conspires to steal the horn in an elaborate plot.  I'm all for a elaborate plot but it all seemed so unnecessary because Beast was reasonable at that point.  Now, if you had shifted his transformation back into a beast a bit earlier, then that would explain why he's being unreasonable and Graham needs to resort to stealth and deception.

One of the things that really bugged me was calling the winds.  I figured out how to do it just fine.  The puzzle made sense.  What didn't make any sense was having to put all the instruments in the same inventory slot.  Why would I have thought to do that?  You click inventory items on each other to combine them.  You didn't combine these.  You just wanted them consolidated.  But that doesn't make sense, because they're already consolidated in Graham's pocket?  On top of that, there was no indication from the narrator that this was an issue ("Good thought but calling one wind at a time won't do Graham any good.").  All you got if you tried to play the instruments was either a stock response, or a "you can't do that here" response.  And it should also be noted that the "you can't do that here" response occurs in a separate screen from where you're supposed to play the instruments while the stock responses occurred in the screen where you were supposed to call the winds.  So I was left thinking that there was a hotspot I was missing outside the city, maybe around the statues.  It really got me frustrated because it was the worst kind of "read my mind" issue so far in the game in that I didn't have to read the developers mind to solve the puzzle, but I did have to read their mind to figure out how to implement the answer.  And speaking of the winds, I suppose it would be really picky to ask why the winds didn't look like they did in KQ7, even though the narrator makes special mention that Graham knows the statues aren't the true forms of the winds.

Moving on to the Pandora's Box puzzle.  I tried it on normal because I didn't want to be a wuss.  I figured I could handle it.  And I was right.  But it took me forever.  Seriously, just reducing the number of symbols to two per side would have improved the puzzle.  As it was, though, I just had to keep doing the same thing over and over, and it took forever.  And the more frustrated I got, the more I disliked the puzzle and started to question it.  Like, seriously, what was Valanice doing?  Were there really symbols swirling around her?  How does projecting them on the wall translate into unlocking the box?  I realize that's getting very concrete with the puzzle, but the fact is that when you get someone frustrated enough, they start to pick things apart like that.  At least I do.  The interface on that puzzle just wasn't well designed.  And not just because it was tediously complicated.  Also, it was just badly designed.  A lot of the symbols would go up into where the icon bar was, which meant you couldn't click them.  And then they'd disappear or switch places.  It really was infuriating.  So infuriating I didn't really get a sense of accomplishment when I beat it on normal.  I was just irritated and glad it was over.

And then you threw me right into a rock, paper, scissors game with Shadrack.  Two non-adventure minigames in your adventure game.  The Shadrack fight pissed me off beyond all recognition.  It took me forever to beat even after recognizing the patterns.  The rock animations, which looked cool at first, began feeling like they were lasting forever, and the entire time I just felt that it had no place in an adventure game.  It's a freaking boss battle.  I played King's Quest because I didn't like arcade and RPG games.  I don't care if RPGs are popular, I don't need boss battles in my King's Quest.  Especially not after an infuriating mini-game puzzle.  And absolutely not when it's just killing time and didn't resolve anything.  Was Shadrack defeated?  Of course not!  You'll still have to face him again.  This did nothing to further the plot, nothing to develop the characters.  It was there to kill time, and I knew it the entire time.  I knew the game would probably end after I beat Shadrack, rendering the frustration I was feeling completely useless.  It was a meaningless edition and it left me severely pissed off.  It literally dragged all the fun and good will I had playing the rest of the game right out of my mind and left me sullenly staring at the computer, trying to dodge lightning bolts.  At least the arcade sequence in the last chapter furthered the story.  This did nothing.  It was unnecessary.

There were other things that didn't sit quite right with me.  I felt the title of the episode was over long and didn't seem to reference anything in particular (but ultimately that doesn't matter.  It's just a title.)  I also didn't like the fact that Valanice seems to be completely lost.  I attributed her suicide attempt to being under a spell, but this episode seems to confirm that she's going through a tough time and at a loss on how to handle it.  Frankly she comes across as weaker than she's been portrayed in past games.  And lastly, once again I feel compelled to point out that I hate the episodic release.  It breaks the flow of the game.  Yes I know I've made that point before.  To which I respond, that's the fault of the episodic release too.  I haven't made this point for six months, so I feel it bears repeating, even if it is beating it into the ground.

Ok, I'm done now, I promise.  Over all, the episode was enjoyable.  There were just some flaws in the execution of the game that keep gnawing at me.  And then there were those minigames that just interrupted the flow completely and were more infuriating than anything else.
Title: Re: Episode 4: Feedback and Thoughts
Post by: KatieHal on November 08, 2011, 08:17:19 PM
Thanks everyone for your feedback so far. We do indeed listen to it and take it into consideration--something that we have shown throughout the development of this game. A lot of things have been added to episodes based on feedback, or adjusted and changed or even taken out for the same reasons. It really is very helpful, and yes, we have the advantage of learning some of our lessons in a freeware game as opposed to a commercial one.

Things like the feedback on puzzles like the box and the fight in particular are helpful, especially when they're specific, because these were our first tries at things like this (mini-game, boss fight). So, Damar, and everyone else who experienced frustration with these, thank you for your feedback, and thank you for making it constructive and specific so that we can take into account not only for Episode 5 but for games like Cognition as well.
Title: Re: Episode 4: Feedback and Thoughts
Post by: oberonqa on November 08, 2011, 10:47:54 PM
Thanks everyone for your feedback so far. We do indeed listen to it and take it into consideration--something that we have shown throughout the development of this game. A lot of things have been added to episodes based on feedback, or adjusted and changed or even taken out for the same reasons. It really is very helpful, and yes, we have the advantage of learning some of our lessons in a freeware game as opposed to a commercial one.

Things like the feedback on puzzles like the box and the fight in particular are helpful, especially when they're specific, because these were our first tries at things like this (mini-game, boss fight). So, Damar, and everyone else who experienced frustration with these, thank you for your feedback, and thank you for making it constructive and specific so that we can take into account not only for Episode 5 but for games like Cognition as well.

POS has definitely made great strides... don't get me wrong.  A lot of changes that have been made have been based on the feedback of the players, just like you said, and these changes are good.  However, POS shouldn't wait to hear feedback from end-users once the game has launched to take feedback into consideration.  When you launch an episode, you are letting the genie out of the bottle, so to speak.  And that's where my feedback is addressed.  Surely your beta testers brought up the very things that we, the end users, are discussing now.  After all, that is what lead to the implementation of the "Easy" setting, which was to address the problems that must have been brought up by the beta testers.

Obviously I'm not privy to the internal development of the game, so what I am about to suggest is probably going to be grossly off-mark... but I have seen this same scenario play out before from my days at Westwood Studios.  Game designers tend to get attached to their designs and ideas.  Different designs and ideas have different degrees of attachment and it generally boils down to how quickly the designer in question came up with the design or idea.  If it was a quickly conceived design or idea, the designer tends to accept feedback and critique willingly.  However, the more time the designer spends developing a design or idea, the more attached the designer becomes with it.  Much like a parent and their child, a designer nurtures a design or idea, molding it over time until it reaches maturity.  And just like a parent, a designer can become very protective of their design or idea, going to bat to defend it and protect it from divisive influences.  I would imagine with the box puzzle, it was the culmination of a great deal of work and the person or people who designed that puzzle felt very much attached to it.. it was their child after all.  Any feedback that the beta testers may have given regarding this puzzle would have fallen on deaf ears when said feedback reached the person or people who designed the box puzzle.  This person or people would feel that the beta testers weren't quite understanding the pretext of the puzzle and how it works in the grand scheme of things.  But, since a game, be it commercial or otherwise, is a group effort, the more people that give the same feedback, the harder it becomes to defend the puzzle.  This probably is what lead to the inclusion of the easy mode, which toned down some of the added mechanics of the puzzle in an attempt to appease the growing majority.  When the easy mode made its way down the pipe to the beta testers to test, they were already well aware of the puzzle and how to solve it, and probably checked off on the implementation because they did indeed get through the puzzle in a much easier fashion.  The beta testers appeased because their feedback was taken seriously, they continue about their work... and the person or people who designed the box puzzle are happy because they have quelled the criticism leveled against their work. 

However, the key here is that the implementation of the easy mode didn't address the feedback from the beta testers, which probably raised each and every point that the end-users are now raising.  The beta testers probably didn't catch this because they had already been exposed to the puzzle as it was originally intended and were able to breeze through the easy mode without issue.  I myself just went through that puzzle sequence again, choosing the easy mode option and was able to complete the puzzle in relatively short order, having already been exposed to the normal mode and knowing exactly what to do.  The added mechanics were no longer an issue because I already knew how to compensate for their presence, and by toning them down, the added mechanics were easier to compensate for. 

Having been able to complete the box puzzle in a markedly easier fashion, the beta testers were probably more than happy to sign off on it, because after all, if the puzzle is indeed easier now than it was before, then surely it must be fixed and all is well.  The base feedback, which probably addressed the added mechanics, UI design, and frustration factor were not addressed at any point.  The illusion of addressing the base feedback was presented and accepted.  This is no one's fault per se, and I certainly don't mean to call attention to the designers on this one, as what I have described is pretty much the creative process and is perfectly normal. 

However, that being said, the problem is getting too attached to one's own ideas.  Sometimes this is a good thing... as there are many instances where following one's gut is a good thing.  I myself made the critique that the hedge maze was ambiguous and difficult to navigate due to the position of the camera way back when (gosh, has it really been more than a year since I played through the internal dev build?!?!?).  I suggested adjusting the position of the camera to give players a better view of Graham would help make traveling through the hedge maze a bit easier.  That was my original critique and you know what?  I was wrong.  The designers explained their rationale behind the camera placement and it works.  They followed their gut on that one and it works rather well, especially given the context of the puzzles in the maze (which weren't implemented in the build I got a chance to look at).  But just as the designers followed their gut with the hedge maze, they followed their gut when it came to the box puzzle.  They made token changes with the easy mode, but didn't really address the core problem with the puzzle, which is the added mechanics, poor UI design, narrator triggers, and frustration factor.  The puzzle would have worked quite well without having the 3 strike rule implemented on the 4th piece of a glyph.  The puzzle would have worked quite well without having the wheels fade in and out at random intervals, but maintained the rotating element.  Heck, the puzzle would have worked quite well if the narrator triggers had been disabled for the area around the wheels.  The omission of one or more of these elements would have had the dual effect of addressing a specific issue AND addressing the frustration factor. 

Now like I said, I'm probably grossly off-mark here.. and I certainly don't mean to call anyone out or anything.  I simply want to call attention to the need of taking beta tester feedback seriously.  If you make a car that happens to be uncomfortable to sit in, you don't wait to fix it until people buy the car and complain that the car is uncomfortable to sit in.  You don't do this because you have a focus group sit in the car prior to release and they tell you it's not comfortable to sit in and you address the problem prior to release.  As I said, the genie is out of the bottle now when it comes to the puzzles that are being discussed.  All that can be done now is either ignore the feedback and leave the puzzles as is... or fix them via a post-release patch or bundle it into the next episode release.  Either solution would be acceptable... but neither solution would have been needed if the beta tester feedback had been addressed wholeheartedly rather than piecemeal.  To continue the car analogy, you have released a car that is great to drive and has great fuel economy... but it isn't very comfortable to sit in.  The question is... what can be done for the next car on the design table?  Will that car also be uncomfortable to sit in?  Or will the seats be redesigned so as to be a bit more comfortable? 

Sorry for the wall-o-text.   8)
Title: Re: Episode 4: Feedback and Thoughts
Post by: Lambonius on November 08, 2011, 11:37:43 PM
All this coddling is making me ill.

A bad design decision is a bad design decision.  You know whose fault it is?  The designers.  Put the blame where it belongs, and don't be shy about it.  We're all adults.  I'm sure they can take the heat.

That said, one bad puzzle isn't really the end-all be-all of a game, now is it?
Title: Re: Episode 4: Feedback and Thoughts
Post by: Cez on November 08, 2011, 11:47:24 PM
I will shine a light on the two closing areas of Episode 4, since they were pretty much my babies.

I'm normally not a conventional guy by any shape or form. I like to experiment and I like to try different things that break the norm. If there's one thing that I've always considered adventure games are bad at is at creating tension. In every other genre there is a difficulty engraved to these special sections of games that you don't expect to breeze through. They require coordination and learned skills. If you defeat a boss in a game in one shot, it's considered "lame" and people expect certain difficulty: See and learn their patters, as you die every time, until you know exactly how they move, then defeat them.

Again, adventure games are bad at creating tension. The only such game where I've experienced tension was in the chase sequence of Phantasmagoria, and wanted to recreate that, we built the tower sequence in Episode 3. Now, with Episode 4, I wanted to try different things. I was very aware that this may very have very well not sit right with adventure game purists, but I hoped, and I'm glad, that some people saw it for what it was, two of the most challenging sequences in the whole series, placed accordingly at the end of the penultimate episode. Some people have expressed experiencing that delightful tension and that was exactly my goal with it.

Were they perfect? Probably not. We did want to remove the narrations from the Pandora's Box puzzle and it was a mistake not having done it. Honestly that's something that we were to change and it fell through the seams, I see now how I should have prioritized it more. As far as the other one, removing the 3rd hit and break sign, it originally used to be that if you matched wrong signs, on the 3rd miss they'd break. I decided to tone it down to only being the last piece, but I wanted that to remain cause otherwise it wasn't a puzzle anymore, where you had to watch what piece matched, it became just a "hit the 12 pieces until the final one matches", which removed the "puzzle" aspect of it. As for the fading in and out, this was a tweak that we talked about implementing but at the end didn't do, again, because we took the time to do an easy option instead.

To me, this was the opening of Pandora's Box --an ancient secret of 1000 years. It needed to be hard, and unforgiving. Was I frustrated when I played it? Yes, but I wanted that feeling of frustration to make the player feel exactly what Valanice was feeling.

That's my take on it. I do appreciate the feedback cause I do read this and I do take it to heart. I tweaked the puzzle as much as I could thinking of all the infuriated players :) But yes, there is an easy option that will allow you to breeze through the puzzle :)
Title: Re: Episode 4: Feedback and Thoughts
Post by: Cez on November 08, 2011, 11:57:58 PM

Moving on to the more frustrating items, which was the puzzle design.  The first thing that bothered me was getting the horn.  Mainly, Graham goes around asking everybody for everything, guilting them into it by saying it will help his children.  But to get the horn, he doesn't even bring that up to Beast, and instead conspires to steal the horn in an elaborate plot.  I'm all for a elaborate plot but it all seemed so unnecessary because Beast was reasonable at that point.  Now, if you had shifted his transformation back into a beast a bit earlier, then that would explain why he's being unreasonable and Graham needs to resort to stealth and deception.


There were other things that didn't sit quite right with me.  I felt the title of the episode was over long and didn't seem to reference anything in particular (but ultimately that doesn't matter.  It's just a title.)


Picking those two things. One, you can talk to the Prince after you figure out there's a horn in that painting.

Two, the title refers to Pandora's Box.
It was in Rosella's mind, since she was the only one that had seen it, and, well, let's just say that something similar happened like in the end of Episode 2 when Graham was pulled into the dreamworld. As for the second section of the title "You yourself shall keep the key of it", Valanice was the only one that could open it by breaking Pandora's spell, one just like her, a Black Cloak with good intentions, more specifically, a mother wanting to save her child was the only kind of powerful thing that would allow such a spell to be broken.
Title: Re: Episode 4: Feedback and Thoughts
Post by: Lambonius on November 09, 2011, 12:01:00 AM
I will shine a light on the two closing areas of Episode 4, since they were pretty much my babies.

I'm normally not a conventional guy by any shape or form. I like to experiment and I like to try different things that break the norm. If there's one thing that I've always considered adventure games are bad at is at creating tension. In every other genre there is a difficulty engraved to these special sections of games that you don't expect to breeze through. They require coordination and learned skills. If you defeat a boss in a game in one shot, it's considered "lame" and people expect certain difficulty: See and learn their patters, as you die every time, until you know exactly how they move, then defeat them.

Again, adventure games are bad at creating tension. The only such game where I've experienced tension was in the chase sequence of Phantasmagoria, and wanted to recreate that, we built the tower sequence in Episode 3. Now, with Episode 4, I wanted to try different things. I was very aware that this may very have very well not sit right with adventure game purists, but I hoped, and I'm glad, that some people saw it for what it was, two of the most challenging sequences in the whole series, placed accordingly at the end of the penultimate episode. Some people have expressed experiencing that delightful tension and that was exactly my goal with it.

Were they perfect? Probably not. We did want to remove the narrations from the Pandora's Box puzzle and it was a mistake not having done it. Honestly that's something that we were to change and it fell through the seams, I see now how I should have prioritized it more. As far as the other one, removing the 3rd hit and break sign, it originally used to be that if you matched wrong signs, on the 3rd miss they'd break. I decided to tone it down to only being the last piece, but I wanted that to remain cause otherwise it wasn't a puzzle anymore, where you had to watch what piece matched, it became just a "hit the 12 pieces until the final one matches", which removed the "puzzle" aspect of it. As for the fading in and out, this was a tweak that we talked about implementing but at the end didn't do, again, because we took the time to do an easy option instead.

To me, this was the opening of Pandora's Box --an ancient secret of 1000 years. It needed to be hard, and unforgiving. Was I frustrated when I played it? Yes, but I wanted that feeling of frustration to make the player feel exactly what Valanice was feeling.

That's my take on it. I do appreciate the feedback cause I do read this and I do take it to heart. I tweaked the puzzle as much as I could thinking of all the infuriated players :) But yes, there is an easy option that will allow you to breeze through the puzzle :)

Translation:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XsYJyVEUaC4
Title: Re: Episode 4: Feedback and Thoughts
Post by: Cez on November 09, 2011, 12:04:36 AM
thanks for sharing your iPod playlist :)
Title: Re: Episode 4: Feedback and Thoughts
Post by: MikPal on November 09, 2011, 01:38:14 AM
Translation:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XsYJyVEUaC4

Well, that's why they call 'em auteurs and there's nothing wrong with that.
Title: Re: Episode 4: Feedback and Thoughts
Post by: Cez on November 09, 2011, 03:33:26 AM
I also didn't like the fact that Valanice seems to be completely lost.  I attributed her suicide attempt to being under a spell, but this episode seems to confirm that she's going through a tough time and at a loss on how to handle it.  Frankly she comes across as weaker than she's been portrayed in past games.  

Ok, I'll come out and blatantly say what happened during that Episode 2 section.

Yes, she is, she's going through some serious stuff, remembering her origins, having opened Pandora's Box, etc. However, she wasn't trying to jump in Episode 2, she was being screwed over by Shadrack in the dreamworld, and that was reflected upon the real world. If you remember the conversation with Saladin in episode 3, he mentions how Valanice was "talking to someone who wasn't there, pleading to be left in peace" In the real world, she was on the balcony of the Green Isles, but in the dreamworld, what she was really seeing, she was just leaning on the balcony of the tower, the same way that she leaned over at the beginning of Episode 3 when she was a young girl. She didn't know this was actually happening to her as well in the real world as she was sleep-walking-- Notice how she doesn't notice Graham until he grabs her and brings her out of the trance/dream? Shadrack was showing to her all that Graham later saw in Episode 3, in the tower section. That's why she crumbled in Graham's arms and couldn't really say a word once she woke up. She was really disturbed as her memories were triggering. Later in the Episode 4 scene with Graham, she's shown at a loss, BUT this scene is crucial because within it, because of Graham's words, she makes the decision that marks the beginning of her journey.

Which bears the question...
has anyone seen the post-credits scene yet? :)
Title: Re: Episode 4: Feedback and Thoughts
Post by: Cez on November 09, 2011, 04:11:02 AM

I also don't really like the fact that everything is moving backwards.  At the risk of being that nerd who actually analyzes these things, it just doesn't make sense.  Events are moving backwards, yet other things are moving forward.  The curse obviously doesn't get undone, and clearly everyone is still aware that Alex and Rosella were cursed, even as they're becoming unaware of other things (Shamir unlearns spells and the chess pieces replay their game, unaware it already happened, though Graham knows.)  The banner is suddenly hanging again while the tree still blocks the way to the beach.  Like I said, I stop short of being that nerd who analyzes it and gets indignant about such things (I save that level of geekdom for Star Trek) but these inconsistencies kind of scratch at the back of my head.  Was it really necessary to have time revert?  Why not just have things being undone completely and disappear, since that achieves the same result story-wise (though people when then accuse you of ripping off Neverending Story.)  And actually, for that matter, what is the Black Cloaks' endgame?  Completely undoing the world in which they live?  Doesn't that hurt them just as much as everyone else?  The story says that they're ambitious and corrupt, but ambitious people don't want to undo the world, they just want to rule it.  Like I said, these are picky points, but they are points that kind of stick in the back of my head because they just don't quite fit together.


I'll be honest about this one. This is a result of shortening a much more elaborated plot that was simplified and had to do with Astratos, the city of time, and the Mask of Eternity, when they existed in the game. The Silver Cloaks originally came from this Astratos, and controlled Time, not dreams, and the Box used to be one of their artifacts.

However, in the Pandora Scroll story, there's a line that says that the Black Cloaks stole the Box from the Fates, which is key as to why things reverse. In the same story, it's told how the Black Cloaks used it to reverse the power of the Silver Cloaks until they vanished. But it took some time.

Also, remember, the Box still fully lies in the dreamworld. Refer to the Zodia stone prison that the Ranger talked about in Episode 2.
Title: Re: Episode 4: Feedback and Thoughts
Post by: snabbott on November 09, 2011, 08:41:08 AM
There have been a lot of cases where testers and other team members have made design suggestions that were not implemented because:
1) It was too late / too technically difficult
2) There were higher priority items that needed to be addressed (e.g. crashing, which has been greatly reduced, though not eliminated)
or
3) They didn't fit with the developers' overall vision for the game.

That's the way it works. Testers give feedback, but it's the designers and developers (and ultimately management) who make the decisions on what gets fixed/changed and what doesn't.

It wasn't entirely feasible in this case, but as a professional software tester, I've seen that it is best if QA can be involved in the design phase so that things can be changed while there is still time and before anybody gets too attached to a particular idea. It also helps QA to see the bigger picture. It's hard to make good design suggestions when you don't know the whole story. Again, though, it's not QA that make the ultimate decisions.

Hopefully it will work more like this with the commercial games. It has already been moving in that direction throughout the development of the TSL episodes. We were given the plots for Ep4 and Ep5 up front, so we know what's coming. :)  That requires a lot of trust, though, and the developers have been given reasons in the past to not trust people. :(
Title: Re: Episode 4: Feedback and Thoughts
Post by: writerlove on November 09, 2011, 09:22:55 AM
I also didn't like the fact that Valanice seems to be completely lost.  I attributed her suicide attempt to being under a spell, but this episode seems to confirm that she's going through a tough time and at a loss on how to handle it.  Frankly she comes across as weaker than she's been portrayed in past games. 

Ok, I'll come out and blatantly say what happened during that Episode 2 section.

Yes, she is, she's going through some serious stuff, remembering her origins, having opened Pandora's Box, etc. However, she wasn't trying to jump in Episode 2, she was being screwed over by Shadrack in the dreamworld, and that was reflected upon the real world. If you remember the conversation with Saladin in episode 3, he mentions how Valanice was "talking to someone who wasn't there, pleading to be left in peace" In the real world, she was on the balcony of the Green Isles, but in the dreamworld, what she was really seeing, she was just leaning on the balcony of the tower, the same way that she leaned over at the beginning of Episode 3 when she was a young girl. She didn't know this was actually happening to her as well in the real world as she was sleep-walking-- Notice how she doesn't notice Graham until he grabs her and brings her out of the trance/dream? Shadrack was showing to her all that Graham later saw in Episode 3, in the tower section. That's why she crumbled in Graham's arms and couldn't really say a word once she woke up. She was really disturbed as her memories were triggering. Later in the Episode 4 scene with Graham, she's shown at a loss, BUT this scene is crucial because within it, because of Graham's words, she makes the decision that marks the beginning of her journey.

Which bears the question...
has anyone seen the post-credits scene yet? :)

Wow you all are sneaky! I did not make that connection until you just mentioned it.
Title: Re: Episode 4: Feedback and Thoughts
Post by: AzzyGale on November 09, 2011, 10:06:56 AM
I thought as much re Valanice. I really feel it that way.  She's certsinly not any wekaer for it, if anything...this could be a jorieny of gaining more strength. Vslsnice has gained depth thanks to  the writers; I had less love for her in the past than I do now.

I''ve still to see the post-credit scene but as I journey and try to make various connections....I really love this theme of reversal, to be honest. And the funny thing is you don;t get it from the start because I just noticed than in ep 1 everything (thew foutains is still the same. The reversal really crept on me, to be honest. But I like it because it adds psychologial baggage also to the beast- no fairy tale end, the problem continues...and this is something that can kill a weak individual, really going from beast to human and beast again. the wors part  is- he remebers...unless he will nt remeber in a few days.

 Pandora story adds justification to it, but I'm really more interested in Graham;s silver cloak connections (I don;t know how I came to think of this, I don;t remeber previous parts so well at themoment) and Valanice past before the past happened.

All these caracters are simply tragic. They are not weaker for it because they are dealing with and facing tragedy- and that can only make people stronger. It's running away that can kill.  So I really must disgree with criticisms on portraying Valanice this way.

What aboiut Graham? How long can he be oiut of the loop. He should have the realisation, at least, of how badly he has been toyed with. And his life has been essentially schemed from te start. I love this the most, really because it makes Graam so unbelievably alone and small and insignificant and yet..if e can ave tis knowledge and still make tise same decisions...or would he waver? -now that would make him brave beying being a bold adventurer.

And just wy can't e make connections? He had visits from a hooded stranger in te past...he should be suspicious and he seems clueless to me... To me it seems like it graham who never really learns...


Please accept my apologies for typos but I'm just dead tired and I don;t even feel like editing this



Title: Re: Episode 4: Feedback and Thoughts
Post by: KatieHal on November 09, 2011, 10:27:31 AM
That's something we were going for with the reversal stuff (especially after we changed the reason for it, as Cez explained): a slow creep of these things happening as the Episodes progressed. And then Graham's worried in this episode about the Box being opened, but the thing is that it's too late already--the Box was opened before he even knew it was a possibility.
Title: Re: Episode 4: Feedback and Thoughts
Post by: Lambonius on November 09, 2011, 11:47:18 AM
Graham is only visited by "hooded strangers" in AGDI's fangames, which suffer from much of the same contrived overarching plot connections that TSL does.

The problem with these over-arching connections and "tragic" characters as that they have absolutely no connection at all to the King's Quest series we all grew up with.  Not to mention being wretchedly cliche, but that's another story.  ;)
Title: Re: Episode 4: Feedback and Thoughts
Post by: snabbott on November 09, 2011, 12:03:11 PM
The problem with these over-arching connections and "tragic" characters as that they have absolutely no connection at all to the King's Quest series we all grew up with.
There wasn't a whole lot of character development in the original games (especially the earlier games), and I know that's how some people prefer it. I wouldn't say that the characters in TSL are inconsistent with the ones in the original series. It's just that they are developed in the direction that a particular group of people (i.e. Cez & Co.) envision. I think it would be impossible to develop the characters in any direction without upsetting some people. It is what it is. Either you like it or you don't. :-\ Personally, I'm a fan of character development in general - it's a big part of what makes stories interesting to me.
Title: Re: Episode 4: Feedback and Thoughts
Post by: AzzyGale on November 09, 2011, 12:06:57 PM
precisely that! there was very little development of characters therefore, therefore, for instance, Valanice was only superficially strong. Don't get me wrong, I loved those games but...really, what This company made them into is really far deeper, the others just scratched the surface and the characters were a bit more cardboard.  

As for AGDI- yes, I guess it was there after all and in the Infamous Adventure Remake as well I reckon, something was changed.  I should revisit the original series sometime soon since it all is getting mixed up now... I didn;t think they were contrived, though. And even so..Graham still never seems to learn anything.  But even so...Snabott got it exactly right, I absolutely agree.

Giving characters some personality to speak of- rather than leaving them cardboard- is a big part of what makes Silver Lining so engrossing and so heart-wrenching.

Also, I am a fan of looking at links between all these fan made games because they all add something unique to original story, but Silver Lining shines among these fan efforts and shines above all original games. I'm not a fan girl. mind you, but I find myself appreciating poetic license with these things. I find little fault with the intention of writers here because I very much subscribe to their vision of these characters and their vision of what they are going through.

Also, what is wrong with being tragic? As long they can bring about a catharsis. And right now I am feeling a lot of sympathy for these characters, which is what this tragism should achieve.  But the most important thing?  I FEEL someting. Like in a goob book or in a good movie, the emotive impact is of vital importance. Tat emotive impact was missing in original games. they were nice little fantasy adventures and there were  some of the hints there of this deeper story which is expanded in a CERTAIN way. A way, not THE way. A. A way. and better explored in Silver Lining. But they weren't or couldn't be made in the same way as we can make them now: in a way which brings these depths out. The characters lacked posychology to a very large extent, which they gaibn here and I can relate to their situation.

Too bad it as going to end just like that, with a foretaste of an adventire of epic proportions which explores the depths of family binds and of twisted agents of fate.  It;s a great theme- that of being manipulated into this tragic situation, and it leaves graham, the MacGyver-Indiana Jones type adventurer but also a naive person.
And this theme of being maniopulated...of being in aisiutation out of control is just so ionic for graham and such an excellent opportunity to finally grow as a person, not just as a father or husband or king.

Yes, they have been tested by losses...but it was never really explored in the games from all perspectives! Therefore each installment of the game seemed like just another adventure, even though we knew the connection..I didn't feel anything whatsoever, though I tried to imagine the reactions of certain situations other characters may have. The original games were wonderful fairy tales; Silver Lining takes in a darker and more realistic stance and it gives such a power to these characters! The only thing I lament is that it;s all we;re getting... But I know it can;t be helped :)

I would have liked to get that Silver lining for our characters drowning in depsair and darkness. And Gosh, dont get me started on the music.

There are however a few "uhmm..no". most notably some of the backgrounds do not render orpperly- for instance the cklouds near castle entrance..I see white patches instead of the sky and clouds....THAT puts me off.

But. This is a product of fantastically written fanfiction, Silver Lining IS fanfiction,  so I see no reason not to let imagination roam after we get that closure. .  

As for puzzles, the horse sequence in episode 3 was enjoyable and the sense of frustration was adequate for that sense of danger and the need to be fast (without spamming--I confess I tried to spam the moves and crashed a lot -.-) But the fact that I spoammed means that I felt the urgency of the moment. And that;s what it was.
Title: Re: Episode 4: Feedback and Thoughts
Post by: KatieHal on November 09, 2011, 12:08:41 PM
Ah, there's the cranky Lamb we know and tolerate. I was beginning to wonder if something had happened to you!  :o
Title: Re: Episode 4: Feedback and Thoughts
Post by: snabbott on November 09, 2011, 12:11:54 PM
XD

Also, there would be a lot more room for complaint if this were an official sequel and not a free fan-made game. :P
Title: Re: Episode 4: Feedback and Thoughts
Post by: Aurelind on November 09, 2011, 12:33:17 PM
Okay, first the positive feedback.  The spell-ingredient-hunting part of this episode was great.  The puzzles were engaging and appropriately challenging, the new areas were beautifully designed (I especially love the Artists’ Boulevard), the music was lovely and enhanced the mood well, and overall I had a great time playing it.

Right up until I gave the ingredients to the Archdruid, that is.  Then it became a descent into frustration and madness.

The box puzzle and the boat fight took everything I disliked about the tower sequence from episode 3 and amplified it.  Apparently, having introduced us to the joys of Unexpected Gameplay Change and Press X To Not Die last time, the game designers felt like they needed to add Interface Screw and a pinch of Luck Based Mission to give us the full experience.  Aeisa, Oberonqa, and Damar already covered most of the points I would have made concerning these sequences, so I see no point in merely echoing them.  I will add, though, that I feel like once I beat a King’s Quest game, I should not be left wondering if I can do it again.  For the last arcade sequence, I was able to learn what I needed to do, because the same things happened in the same order every time, and many of the actions were prompted.  Here, that strategy simply does not work.  Random elements are one thing (like the path through the marshes in the KQII remake), but once you know the trick to a puzzle, you should be able to apply it to reiterations without further puzzlement.  With the box puzzle, even after I learn what the component parts look like, I still have to chase them around the screen and attempt to distinguish them from among the many nearly-identical curves and lines before they fade.  (And if that was the “easy” mode, I don’t want to know what “normal” is.  Maybe they would be better named “small twitchy headache” and “migraine.”)  With the boat fight, I had to get help to learn
Shadrack’s
tells and how I should respond to each, and even then, if I had to dodge a bolt it was a 50/50 shot whether I would choose the right direction.  I’m grateful that there are autosaves built in, and that the former puzzle gives me unlimited attempts, but still… this sort of gaming is not what I enjoy, and not what I expect in a King’s Quest game.  I think that King’s Quest puzzles should be more like riddles or lateral thinking exercises or and less like virtual sparring matches.

To be honest, if this were a commercial game, after this I would wait for the reviews of part 5 before purchase… and if they indicated more of these action/twitch sequences, I probably would not buy it.  My desire to know how it all ends could be satisfied by watching a Let’s Play instead.

In fairness, the cutscenes interspersed throughout these sequences were awesome (although I want to slap people for failure to communicate in such dire circumstances), and the end one was gratifyingly trippy (though abruptly ended).  Overall I would still give this episode a good review, and I continue to appreciate and be impressed by everyone's hard work, but please, please, don’t try to up the action quotient again in part 5.  Let the story make us feel tension, not the gameplay.
Title: Re: Episode 4: Feedback and Thoughts
Post by: MikPal on November 09, 2011, 01:14:21 PM
It's the crappy recap, man, it ruined peoples enjoyment! *SOB* I'm going to go and lay myself down between the sofa and the wall, so that the sweet soft dust can create a warm blanket over my weeping body.
Title: Re: Episode 4: Feedback and Thoughts
Post by: Cez on November 09, 2011, 01:20:52 PM
Aurelind, thanks for the review and feedback.

About the fight...

Watch the sky before the bolt. It gives you the clue for what direction to dodge in.

Rest of the topic has gone somewhere else. Let's keep this discussion for people interested in talking about Ep4.
Title: Re: Episode 4: Feedback and Thoughts
Post by: Cez on November 09, 2011, 02:59:01 PM
AzzyGale, your post made my day!

Thank you! :D
Title: Re: Episode 4: Feedback and Thoughts
Post by: jsh357 on November 09, 2011, 06:30:37 PM
Ok, just finished the game and I thought I'd wait to post what I thought of it, because quite frankly I'm pissed off, but I'm going ahead and posting anyway.  I'll get to why I'm irritated in a minute, but might as well start with the good.

As always, I really like the music.  The game itself was also pretty, though like someone else said, there was some clipping issues.  I didn't really care either since it's a fan game.  I also really enjoyed the maze.  In fact, I really wished it had been bigger.  It was pretty basic, actually since most of the maze you could see was inaccessible.  I also wish you hadn't had to cheat to get to the castle.  Normally I'm not a fan of mazes in games, but the overhead view made it much more accessible.

Ok, now for the kind of picky things.  I wasn't a fan of Pan's voice (it looks like he wasn't even listed in the credits.)  To be fair, though, I really don't know what I imagine Pan sounding like.  I couldn't even tell you if he has a high or low voice, so me saying I don't like it isn't exactly fair.  What I can say, though, is I don't like how he was written.  Having him refer to himself as "one" constantly just didn't work.  It was annoying and difficult to follow.  But he wasn't really a major character, so not a huge deal.

I also don't really like the fact that everything is moving backwards.  At the risk of being that nerd who actually analyzes these things, it just doesn't make sense.  Events are moving backwards, yet other things are moving forward.  The curse obviously doesn't get undone, and clearly everyone is still aware that Alex and Rosella were cursed, even as they're becoming unaware of other things (Shamir unlearns spells and the chess pieces replay their game, unaware it already happened, though Graham knows.)  The banner is suddenly hanging again while the tree still blocks the way to the beach.  Like I said, I stop short of being that nerd who analyzes it and gets indignant about such things (I save that level of geekdom for Star Trek) but these inconsistencies kind of scratch at the back of my head.  Was it really necessary to have time revert?  Why not just have things being undone completely and disappear, since that achieves the same result story-wise (though people when then accuse you of ripping off Neverending Story.)  And actually, for that matter, what is the Black Cloaks' endgame?  Completely undoing the world in which they live?  Doesn't that hurt them just as much as everyone else?  The story says that they're ambitious and corrupt, but ambitious people don't want to undo the world, they just want to rule it.  Like I said, these are picky points, but they are points that kind of stick in the back of my head because they just don't quite fit together.

Moving on to the more frustrating items, which was the puzzle design.  The first thing that bothered me was getting the horn.  Mainly, Graham goes around asking everybody for everything, guilting them into it by saying it will help his children.  But to get the horn, he doesn't even bring that up to Beast, and instead conspires to steal the horn in an elaborate plot.  I'm all for a elaborate plot but it all seemed so unnecessary because Beast was reasonable at that point.  Now, if you had shifted his transformation back into a beast a bit earlier, then that would explain why he's being unreasonable and Graham needs to resort to stealth and deception.

One of the things that really bugged me was calling the winds.  I figured out how to do it just fine.  The puzzle made sense.  What didn't make any sense was having to put all the instruments in the same inventory slot.  Why would I have thought to do that?  You click inventory items on each other to combine them.  You didn't combine these.  You just wanted them consolidated.  But that doesn't make sense, because they're already consolidated in Graham's pocket?  On top of that, there was no indication from the narrator that this was an issue ("Good thought but calling one wind at a time won't do Graham any good.").  All you got if you tried to play the instruments was either a stock response, or a "you can't do that here" response.  And it should also be noted that the "you can't do that here" response occurs in a separate screen from where you're supposed to play the instruments while the stock responses occurred in the screen where you were supposed to call the winds.  So I was left thinking that there was a hotspot I was missing outside the city, maybe around the statues.  It really got me frustrated because it was the worst kind of "read my mind" issue so far in the game in that I didn't have to read the developers mind to solve the puzzle, but I did have to read their mind to figure out how to implement the answer.  And speaking of the winds, I suppose it would be really picky to ask why the winds didn't look like they did in KQ7, even though the narrator makes special mention that Graham knows the statues aren't the true forms of the winds.

Moving on to the Pandora's Box puzzle.  I tried it on normal because I didn't want to be a wuss.  I figured I could handle it.  And I was right.  But it took me forever.  Seriously, just reducing the number of symbols to two per side would have improved the puzzle.  As it was, though, I just had to keep doing the same thing over and over, and it took forever.  And the more frustrated I got, the more I disliked the puzzle and started to question it.  Like, seriously, what was Valanice doing?  Were there really symbols swirling around her?  How does projecting them on the wall translate into unlocking the box?  I realize that's getting very concrete with the puzzle, but the fact is that when you get someone frustrated enough, they start to pick things apart like that.  At least I do.  The interface on that puzzle just wasn't well designed.  And not just because it was tediously complicated.  Also, it was just badly designed.  A lot of the symbols would go up into where the icon bar was, which meant you couldn't click them.  And then they'd disappear or switch places.  It really was infuriating.  So infuriating I didn't really get a sense of accomplishment when I beat it on normal.  I was just irritated and glad it was over.

And then you threw me right into a rock, paper, scissors game with Shadrack.  Two non-adventure minigames in your adventure game.  The Shadrack fight pissed me off beyond all recognition.  It took me forever to beat even after recognizing the patterns.  The rock animations, which looked cool at first, began feeling like they were lasting forever, and the entire time I just felt that it had no place in an adventure game.  It's a freaking boss battle.  I played King's Quest because I didn't like arcade and RPG games.  I don't care if RPGs are popular, I don't need boss battles in my King's Quest.  Especially not after an infuriating mini-game puzzle.  And absolutely not when it's just killing time and didn't resolve anything.  Was Shadrack defeated?  Of course not!  You'll still have to face him again.  This did nothing to further the plot, nothing to develop the characters.  It was there to kill time, and I knew it the entire time.  I knew the game would probably end after I beat Shadrack, rendering the frustration I was feeling completely useless.  It was a meaningless edition and it left me severely pissed off.  It literally dragged all the fun and good will I had playing the rest of the game right out of my mind and left me sullenly staring at the computer, trying to dodge lightning bolts.  At least the arcade sequence in the last chapter furthered the story.  This did nothing.  It was unnecessary.

There were other things that didn't sit quite right with me.  I felt the title of the episode was over long and didn't seem to reference anything in particular (but ultimately that doesn't matter.  It's just a title.)  I also didn't like the fact that Valanice seems to be completely lost.  I attributed her suicide attempt to being under a spell, but this episode seems to confirm that she's going through a tough time and at a loss on how to handle it.  Frankly she comes across as weaker than she's been portrayed in past games.  And lastly, once again I feel compelled to point out that I hate the episodic release.  It breaks the flow of the game.  Yes I know I've made that point before.  To which I respond, that's the fault of the episodic release too.  I haven't made this point for six months, so I feel it bears repeating, even if it is beating it into the ground.

Ok, I'm done now, I promise.  Over all, the episode was enjoyable.  There were just some flaws in the execution of the game that keep gnawing at me.  And then there were those minigames that just interrupted the flow completely and were more infuriating than anything else.

I'd say this wasn't the strongest of the four episodes, in all honesty.  I did enjoy several parts, but some of the design left me cold.  I realize it can be disheartening to see so many negative posts here, but I do want to stress that I enjoyed the game and I'm just looking out for what I think is the best interests of the designers.

I'm in agreement with the quoted post almost entirely, but I have to add that there really should have been a way to cut down on travel time (notably in the maze). 

Looking at this one example in a vacuum: the player has to walk back and forth between the Beast's Castle and the land of the Winged Ones several times, which involves 4 very long screen transitions, waiting on the winged shoes animation, waiting for Graham to swim to/from the boat, selecting the destination island, and navigating the maze (I don't mind the mediocre pathfinding normally, but the small corridors here got to be very frustrating).  Logically, Graham would have to do these things, but it's frustrating since this can take a couple of minutes which could have been spent better and nothing of interest happens along the way to these two points.  I liked that you added a short warp when LEAVING the castle, but perhaps there could have been a way to make getting BACK IN faster as well, apart from muscle memory.  King's Quest VI has a lot of backtracking too, but with the option to make Alexander walk faster it's hardly an issue.

I'm not sure how I feel about the direction the plot is going.  I'm reserving most judgment until Episode 5 comes out (Still looking forward to it, of course) but I really feel like the time-reversion is half-baked and, as the quoted post says, makes little sense from an analytical standpoint.  It hardly feels like an important element to introduce to the plot either, as anyone playing this is probably heavily invested in the Daventry family as-is--wanting to save Alexander and Rosella is reason enough for me to be playing as far as I'm concerned.  I also feel that we didn't really need to KNOW what Shadrack plans to do with his reign of terror.  The fact that he's doing it is bad enough.  The Silver Cloak plotline has always felt out of place in the story to me, and this episode did little to reverse that, but I'm hoping we get some closure in the next part. 

Best part of the episode was using the old Pawn Shop items again.  Nice blast of nostalgia there.  I also enjoyed a lot of the puzzles, although many more conceptually than in practice.  Would have liked there to be a few more puzzles after bringing the four instruments to the cliff or some monster in there or anything (it was.. anticlimactic after that long quest to get all the instruments), but we can't have everything I suppose.

I experienced a lot of random slow-down in this episode in Beast's Garden and a few other maps, which made little sense as the game was barely using my CPU and burning less RAM than Firefox on a semi-bad day.  Hope that wasn't a problem for many others...

I do have one question that I hope somebody can answer  (This isn't a criticism really).  It might have been answered in an earlier episode but I totally missed it.  How did Shadrack locate Pandora's Box?  I thought Rosella had sealed the box away for good in the tomb.  Don't get me wrong, I'm okay with it coming back as it was always a Chekhov's Gun in the KQ timeline, but it feels like the bad guys managed to track the box down far too easily.  The tomb was standing wide open when Rosella walked in there (assuming it's the same place).  Maybe the creators didn't feel like it was necessary or worthy to explain, but I would not be surprised if other fans of the series took issue.
Title: Re: Episode 4: Feedback and Thoughts
Post by: Damar on November 09, 2011, 07:17:07 PM
Yeah, I'd wondered about the Pandora's Box thing too.  Shadrack made mention that they couldn't get to it because it was protected, which kind of made me wonder protected by what.  The mummy?  The locked door?  But I eventually just figured that part of this game's plot centers on the fact that the royal family are basically the culmination of both these warring factions, so Rosella is special.  She could get in and out, so we were never aware of how the box was magically protected.  How they got it after Rosella returned it, though, I don't remember being specified.

As for the issue with Valanice, I hadn't put that together either.  I had no idea she was acting out her dreams.  It just wasn't clear to me.  It looked like she was giving up.

Lastly, I would agree with what someone else said, that the story should build the tension without using boss battles as a crutch.  There's a difference between being unconventional and trying to push together two different ideas that just don't fit.  The arcade sequence in episode 3 wasn't really my thing, but I will admit that it worked.  It built tension.  But it built tension because it furthered the plot.  You wanted to get to Valanice.  You knew there were answers at the top of the tower.  The minigames in episode 4 didn't further anything.  Getting frustrated opening Pandora's Box doesn't put me into mind of Valanice's frustration.  Truth be told, I was more in touch with that seeing her fumble with the box while this cloaked guy threatened to kill Rosella.  That's terrifying in a literally nightmarish way (I don't know about anyone else but needing to do something but not knowing what is a nightmare I've had before).  All that empathy I was feeling for the character vanished, though, when I had to do a minigame because it took me out of the story.  And getting frustrated didn't make me say, "Oooh, this is what Valanice is going through."  It just took me further out of the story and made me focus on icons and clicking the mouse as fast as I could while watching for patterns.

Likewise, fighting Shadrack didn't give me a feeling of accomplishment.  Finishing collecting the spell ingredients did.  This is an adventure game.  I play it for puzzles and story.  If I want boss battles I'll go play an RPG.  Figuring out patterns and moves doesn't make me feel more in touch with the story, it specifically takes me out of the story and forces me to focus on minutia.  Personally, I'm one of those people that can't get engrossed in a boss fight because turn based fighting doesn't exist in the real world.  It has always felt contrived to me, but like I've said, I just don't enjoy RPGs.  Regardless, this didn't further the story.  Shadrack had already said what he needed to say and when you beat him he just flies off while shouting that next time we won't get so lucky.  It doesn't further the story and any sense of accomplishment is hollow because the point of this whole episode was solving puzzles and navigating the islands to find the spell ingredients.  That's what ultimately bothers me.  If it furthered the story, like the sequence in episode 3, I'd be more forgiving of it, even if I didn't like it much.  I would agree with what was said before in that I hope episode 5 doesn't have any more action sequences.  Not just because I'm not a fan, but because there's so much story that needs to be wrapped up.  Clearly a lot of story has already been cut.  Why put off more story just to make people do another boss fight in an adventure game?
Title: Re: Episode 4: Feedback and Thoughts
Post by: Cez on November 09, 2011, 07:59:03 PM

I do have one question that I hope somebody can answer  (This isn't a criticism really).  It might have been answered in an earlier episode but I totally missed it.  How did Shadrack locate Pandora's Box?  I thought Rosella had sealed the box away for good in the tomb.  Don't get me wrong, I'm okay with it coming back as it was always a Chekhov's Gun in the KQ timeline, but it feels like the bad guys managed to track the box down far too easily.  The tomb was standing wide open when Rosella walked in there (assuming it's the same place).  Maybe the creators didn't feel like it was necessary or worthy to explain, but I would not be surprised if other fans of the series took issue.

I answered this question in a previous post. It's implied how it appeared by Shadrack in the beginning cutscene. From previous games you should know what the Silver Cloaks power is and what can they do with it (Pull things from the world into the dreamworld and make them real). There's something going on with Graham and the Silver Cloaks. Tie the dots :)

To add to what you said about Rosella, Damar, remember also that Lolotte sent Rosella to get the Box, as opposed to getting it herself, or sending one of her goons.
Title: Re: Episode 4: Feedback and Thoughts
Post by: Cez on November 09, 2011, 08:07:44 PM

Likewise, fighting Shadrack didn't give me a feeling of accomplishment.  Finishing collecting the spell ingredients did.  This is an adventure game.  I play it for puzzles and story.  If I want boss battles I'll go play an RPG.  Figuring out patterns and moves doesn't make me feel more in touch with the story, it specifically takes me out of the story and forces me to focus on minutia.  Personally, I'm one of those people that can't get engrossed in a boss fight because turn based fighting doesn't exist in the real world.  It has always felt contrived to me, but like I've said, I just don't enjoy RPGs.  Regardless, this didn't further the story.  Shadrack had already said what he needed to say and when you beat him he just flies off while shouting that next time we won't get so lucky.  It doesn't further the story and any sense of accomplishment is hollow because the point of this whole episode was solving puzzles and navigating the islands to find the spell ingredients.  That's what ultimately bothers me.  If it furthered the story, like the sequence in episode 3, I'd be more forgiving of it, even if I didn't like it much.  I would agree with what was said before in that I hope episode 5 doesn't have any more action sequences.  Not just because I'm not a fan, but because there's so much story that needs to be wrapped up.  Clearly a lot of story has already been cut.  Why put off more story just to make people do another boss fight in an adventure game?

I wouldn't say it doesn't further the story, but then again you need to be patient. You got the Amulet of Dreams and used it, which is the center of the gameplay mechanics in Episode 5.

Aside from that, I understand if you were put off by the mechanics, but kicking Shaddie's ass remains one of the top moments in the series for me, personally.
Title: Re: Episode 4: Feedback and Thoughts
Post by: flitchard on November 09, 2011, 08:44:14 PM
I liked the battle. Isn't it about time that Shadrack tried to stop you? He CAN'T honestly be unaware of your threat to his plans... Plus, as for unnecessary, did you LISTEN to his speech? Something WEIRD is going on, when the guy who was sealed away for 1,000 years RECOGNIZES your face, and calls you by name... Finally, this ISN'T the first "Boss fight" in King's Quest. THAT would be Mordack from V. So, I understand your opinion, but respectfully disagree...
Title: Re: Episode 4: Feedback and Thoughts
Post by: AzzyGale on November 09, 2011, 09:33:09 PM
Well let me add to what I wrote previously.

This post contains spoilers.
 

1. The puzzles and battle:


The pandora puzzle is easy. Valanice has got all the answers and clues right where she needs them, right in front of her. . The only thing I would use is..to be able to see the whole of the upper mirror to actually see ewhat I'm doing lol. As it is I've doing a lot of intuitive guesswork just because I couldn;t see the upper parts of the elements I added.

Maybe you could disable the top bar for the duration of the minigame (the one with the saving and all icons, I mean)  because what I found bad is that when I clik it- I click the bar and lose the chance of adding the element. Also the top left hand circle..I see only half of it. I can;t change resolution, I have a wide screen vista laptop. Other than that...it adds to Valanice's tension and her fright and sense of terror..and she has to be the one to open it...given her dual heritage, it seems, though Shadrack would have her believe that she;s all black cloak and all. The resemblance of Valanice to pandora is uncanny. But there is more to it, I feel.  

I am doing the final battle right now and I love the mechanics since it operates on the battle of wits concept an element for another element... like a shape for another shape. something lie paper-rock-scissors game and I absolutely love those. I only need to figure out the timing and waht counter attack is best for what attack.

I would hate a real time battle...I am terrible at dodging. My hand-eye coordination is terrible and if it waas real-time I would be begging for a skip option.... I prefer it this way, I think you have struck a comprimise between real time battle and turn-based battle.  

And it is not a boss battle just an interactive confrontation with our arch-enemy who has done Graham and his family so much evil!  Having a cut-scene would be pointless. I don;t see how it does not fit....of course it fits into the genre! Especially because of rock-paper-scissor concept,  wich is as adventury as it can get.
I've been dying to see more of it in games.


2.So...what then? Wild speculations.


Other than that..I just hope Graham can comprehend it all (lathough it is quite a lot) and forgive Valanice and understand that she is as much a pawn as he is. All this talk about forgetting the past and moving on..can he move beyond it? so far he;s been showing that he actually can.  

 Two pawns are likely to form a horse or a tower if they cooperate.It truly is a test for Graham as a human being and let's hope he has enough of wisdom to take it in.  It;s a test for Valanice, it;s a test for them all as a family and I'd at least like to see them passing it...stronger for it, having been expolited so badly.

Some of my other wild speculations:

1)Graham has seen and experienced it all in his life so he is also a character ripe fo an ultimate sacrifice...and he's all ready to do it too, I don't think he'd hesitate to jump into a pit of fire, if need be. But even if...that would possibly come in the final part of the trilogy. As it is, we're not getting any ultimate endings.

2) We end on a loophole..of creating and uncreating to be resolved in part two of the trilogy...but having seen the ending credits I can't envisage it that way any more.

3) It seems that in episode 5 we are likely to help the children at least...but I have a feeling something is aboit to happen so they only thing we may accomplish is to assure that their sleep is peacful. In other words, i think we will save their dreams and banish their nightmares... but whether or not it will help to wake the is quite another story. It doesn;t have to wake them, because something else will interefere, but we may at least make sure their dreams become a better place...


But it will be up to Graham and the Silvercloak Ranger (is he ever going to show his face?) or is it?... And Graham has already accepted the amulet of dreams....the Silverlcloak power. Two sides of power, silver and black, yes, I would have expected that and I like it.   I will be certainly looking forward to chapter 5. But first to see those end credits...I am sure I will be able to add more thoughts once I see them.

I will now resume my final battle...but I really do enjoy how it was made to be, I love battle of wits concept. I am entirely in favour of this mechanism. And yea, Shadrack needs to get that smirk wiped off his face! What an arrgoant %?^%$?3  he is.



EDIT:

Passed the battle no problems whatsoever when I figured out the attack pattern. Easy peasy.


Regarding communication issues- I'm thinking: plot twists!

Now....I do agree that this family needs may need to work on those talking and listewtning skills a bit. and certainly after all this a lot of talking is in order... HOWEVER...Graham not finishing what he wanted to say when talking to Valanice was just because he did not want to burden her more. He knows shels had quite enough already and he knows they need to take care of the more urgent matters first...save children, perhaps eliniate Shadrack, eliminate this evil scheme and only after that...take care of the past. I do have a feeling that this last part would come in the final part of the trilogy that had been planned but which we shall never see, we can only connect all the other hints and draw a picture of what could happen in those never-to-be-future trilogy parts.

It would have been a blast to revisit Kolyma, and I think we would go there at one point...

However,  more regarding the talking,.. What's with the brooding Edgar? I hope he;s not about to do something unreasonable... I understand the poor fellow is feeling useless, but just wat exactly is passing through his mind? He looks like someone who will just stay until Rosella wakes up and then leave because he's not good enough. Ay, Edgar, Edgar could use a little questing of his own, it seems. You know at one point watching some of the trailers I thought HE was turning into a beast.   Yes, he should have tried getting some advice from Graham...but it;s not the time to be bothering Graham with this, with tis kind of conversations between fater and son-in-law,  as Graham first needs to do things to restore some peace and quiet.  

So again Edgar, like Graham, is keeping some things from others..out of good will, not bother anyone at a momen when they feel is not right for talking because more important issues are at stake.

 And so is Valanice...beating about the bush rather than telling graham directly what burdens her so..but then again she;s only beginning to realise what happened in the past..the ast that was previously blocked out...honestly, to find a missing piece of memoty, sod readful, ti find oneself so expliited and to find that she was a tool to trap her husband....it;s a lot to take...her entire foundation is shaking up...

And probably so is Cassima keeping things.....we haven;t seen much of her, excet for the cut scene and I just imagine wat she must be feeling and doesn;lt really ave anyone to talk to eiher...So alone and they all grow apart throug this isolation, each and every one of them more alone tan ever.  See a pattern? I think this is a clear potential suggestion of where we could be going after episode 5...

Because, theoretically, now is really not the time for those kind of conversations but later on...After all that, they should all sit down and talk. Honestly, about everything that eats away at them..

if people don't say what;s on their mind, what eats away at them and just bottle it up... things ually end up complicating even more and trust is broken...familiy may move away from another...be near but far..

Isn't that a good plot twist? A weakned family...Shadrack just may use it..or could use it future parts of the trilogy...because I have a feeling things may calm down a bit at the end of episode 5...enough to give graham a false sense of victory.  

But without talking...surviving family would be weakned...with many internal demons still to fight..it's a hole to be exploited by the bad guys...and they, I guess, would gladly use a lot  more lies and intricate schemes to complicate things and break them even more.

And don't forget...I think I recall a cutscene from Alexander's dreams in one of the previous episodes..who s to say Alexander and Rosella won't be used against teir parents because the blackcloaks will brainwash them to think that it's their parents who had purposefully abandoned them? And that perhaps Alexander was actually loved by Mananan and that it's his father who is the enemy he should safe guard against...so much possible heartrbreak still before graham....

That;s why I also said earlier that episiode 5 will aim to at least save the dream of the children, because it may not necessarily manage to wake them.

There are several ways in which this could go. And I think Shadrack hinted at it ("You think you still have a family?) .it will be difficult for Graham to get his family back together, let alone heal all that pain and confusion caused by the black cloaks intrigues.

At this point we don't even know whether the children will wake up or whether at least their dreams will be saved, thoug I think Graham may at least manage that.


That;s all, in conclusion. it was a really nice installment, and def the puzzle sequence in episode 3 was more difficult than any of the puzzles here. The battle was a puzzle of wits and I liked it.

Title: Re: Episode 4: Feedback and Thoughts
Post by: seir on November 09, 2011, 09:50:30 PM
although I want to slap people for failure to communicate in such dire circumstances

I agree! I wanted to smack Graham too when he started saying something to Valanice, but then didn't!  Or when he asked the Prince about the horn, but then so easily gave up after getting a simple "No, I likes me my paintings." At least a little trying to explain WHY he wanted to borrow it would have been in order.
Title: Re: Episode 4: Feedback and Thoughts
Post by: Arkillian on November 10, 2011, 03:15:43 AM
As an art appreciator, I thought Beast's picture was cool. Then I had to steal it by getting one of the winged ones to forge it. My inner artists cried. My inner adventurer cheered.

I wish Edgar would stop moping about and dragging the story down. Everyone has something to do but him :< He just sits there and broods. I hope he gets something to do in episode 5 finally. He is a newly wed husband who hasn't been able to show his support for his wife.

New OTP- Arch Druid and animated tea cup. Damn, they're so cute together XD

Ranger- WHY U SO MYSTERIOUS STILL?! Damn it. I want to see his face. He had a cool involvement :)

And epic moment- Alexander versus dragon rematch!!  :sweetheart: (OK- it was the only moment he really got but I can celebrate, right?)

Golden brush? That puzzle I couldn't get on my own cause that's not how my paint brushes look. Had to ask for help on that cause I thought I had gotten a dead end. I thought that we had to turn Alexander's paint brush gold with the golden tree. I was looking forward to the animation, then I found that I had to glue fur to a baton and that's it. I feel kinda bad for the winged one :/ Again- the artist in me. I'm sure everyone else was cool with it :)

Cassima's speech? You GO GIRL. Cassima is so awesome. I totally dig her character in TSL. You don't get to see her be awesome in KQ5 and 6 cause she's imprisoned /enslaved. You get to see her fire in her eyes in this. I can see why Alexander loves her ^^

OK- so Valanice is Black cloak, so Mannanan gave her up for a greater cause. Why did she have to forget him? They're both black cloaks. She can't have been a Gwydion cause he only stole boys (creep)

Over all, I think Episode 3 excites me more, but I did enjoy this episode. Beast death was AWESOME.
Title: Re: Episode 4: Feedback and Thoughts
Post by: AzzyGale on November 10, 2011, 04:55:46 AM
I don't think Valanice is as simple as you just summed her up....That shels a black cloak is not just..there was also something else. There's more to it. To me it seems perfectly logical..as part of Black Cloak;s plan, to have made her forget... She could have tried stopping that fate probably had she known without that knowledge she became the pawn the Black Cloaks needed, they planned it out very well and besides...otherwise, if she remebered, it woud move away too far from original games, that way the Silver Lining Team added in their view but without doing away wit the Valanice from Sierra Games, they made it that way so that certain things could come out suddenly...only in theor own game, without affecting the rest of the Sierra series and I think this a good way out of a dilamma and also quite respectful. .And now that makes another tragic pawn.

Also about Edgar, I've beebn thinking about it too, as I wrote earlier.. But I don't think there is much he can really do at the moment, as Graham says. he sould just stay by Rosella.

I think he wanted to suggest that he comes with graham but I guess it came out not very directly but then Graham suggested what he should do. And besides, this really doesn't seem like Edgar's fight, it;s more a fight for Graham and Valanice.  

Title: Re: Episode 4: Feedback and Thoughts
Post by: Damar on November 10, 2011, 05:51:26 AM
I liked the battle. Isn't it about time that Shadrack tried to stop you? He CAN'T honestly be unaware of your threat to his plans... Plus, as for unnecessary, did you LISTEN to his speech? Something WEIRD is going on, when the guy who was sealed away for 1,000 years RECOGNIZES your face, and calls you by name... Finally, this ISN'T the first "Boss fight" in King's Quest. THAT would be Mordack from V. So, I understand your opinion, but respectfully disagree...

I did listen to his speech, and yes, that does further the plot.  But it happens in a cut scene.  The battle itself doesn't further anything.  And yes, it is about time Shadrack stopped you.  Bad guys have been trying to stop Graham in several games without us jolting into RPG mode, though.  And yes, you did fight Mordack, but you beat him by figuring out the spells and using logic.  Here, Shadrack tries to stop you and suddenly the Ranger appears, makes an amulet out of the leftover stuff in you pocket (I guess Cassima's never getting that necklace back!) and says, "NOW FIGHT!"  There's a difference between the two.

As for Valanice, she's from the line of Black Cloaks, but she doesn't want to be one of them.  She's like Pandora.  Technically one of them but not buying into their plans.  And since a Black Cloak with only pure intentions could open the box, like Pandora, that's just what they needed.  Which could explain why they locked her away.  To make her turn against the Black Cloaks and not be corrupted by them so that they could come back and collect her later and make her open the box.
Title: Re: Episode 4: Feedback and Thoughts
Post by: AzzyGale on November 10, 2011, 06:43:32 AM
I disagree that the battle doesn't add anything; I really feel it does add something to the game...suddenly we get something interactive and it was needed plot-wise, precisely due to the background stories and because of the storms happening.  It;s also a very fitting way to close an episode..although, I'll grant it, perhaps it would have been moore fitting for an epic finale to a trilogy. But we can't have that.

This is not for the game maker's self-gratification or feature testingl it was added, I feel, with the intention of expanding game experience and feel of that game experience and throughtout the game I WANTED to encouter Shadrack finally and show him that his arrogance is not justified. And we did just that!

I really do not understand this reluctance towards mini-games. This really isn't a battle per se, it's a mini game. I love them in adventure games myself. It was a similar thing in Quest for glory II remake...when they implemented that puzzle at Aziza, if I recall correctly. Been ages since I played. And the original series also had battles. Even if you say yes but it was conceived that way, I still see  not how it does not fit Silver lining, since clearly Quest for glory series is an  example of a very attractive adventure with rpg elements.


Too bad...Silver lining couldn't have explored it more.

And these elements are essentially elements we sought to enchant in episode 3, with druidic powers...protective elements of air and water and attacking powers of fire and earth. Why not put them to good use?  Active and passive elements. Interesting use of elements actually. But I think it goes well with definitions of elements, well parts of them, I really am quite satisfied with that battle and how it worked, precisely because it feels like such a classic system to use.

And if anything, it could have happened earlier...but then Graham would have prevented opening the Pandora'x box most likely. And Shadrack didn;t yet have the powers to flaunt to our dear adventurer.


That's still not it about Valanice, I really don't think it is.  There is more but it hasn't been explored properly, I feel.
Title: Re: Episode 4: Feedback and Thoughts
Post by: Sslaxx on November 10, 2011, 06:44:05 AM
Shadrak's voice conflates in my head with Mankar Camoran.
Title: Re: Episode 4: Feedback and Thoughts
Post by: snabbott on November 10, 2011, 07:36:02 AM
I don't see how the Shadrack battle is any more RPG-ish than the battle with Mordack in KQ5. Personally, I would have made it more complex - being able to use all elements for both attack and defense. The fact that the battle was turn-based may not be very realistic, but I think it would upset people more if it were actually a real-time arcade battle.

And no, we're definitely not done learning about Valanice. :) Also, the game does have a real ending - it's not an open ending that would have been to be resolved in parts 2 and 3. True, some of the plot does end up seeming contrived, but I think that's what happens when you consolidate a story into 1/3 of what it was meant to be. Maybe it would have been better to throw out the whole thing and re-write it, but I think it works as is. Anyway, that's the designers' prerogative. People don't have to play it if they don't like it. And with a commercial game, that sort of thing would likely affect sales. In which direction is not clear - do a lot of people dislike the way things are being done, or is it just a very vocal minority? I'm not sure how you would make sure you had a representative sample for something like this. I guess that's why there are marketing people. :)
Title: Re: Episode 4: Feedback and Thoughts
Post by: AzzyGale on November 10, 2011, 08:06:40 AM
I don't see how the Shadrack battle is any more RPG-ish than the battle with Mordack in KQ5. Personally, I would have made it more complex - being able to use all elements for both attack and defense. The fact that the battle was turn-based may not be very realistic, but I think it would upset people more if it were actually a real-time arcade battle.


Well, you know, turn-based battles especially tended to be used in rpgs, and I think they immediatewly bring out these connotations.
 On the one hand- yes; I think the arcade in SL3 could be a proof of what yo;re saying.  And yes, this was made easier by this turning side..but as long at wouldn't be an all out-war blasting thing, but we'd still get t use this rockpaper-sciccors concept, even without the turn-base, it probaly wouldn;t have been so terribly scary. In any case, this cocnept is what appeals to me.

Quote
And no, we're definitely not done learning about Valanice. :)


Ah, yay! There is much more that was also hinted at throughout these games!

Quote
Also, the game does have a real ending - it's not an open ending that would have been to be resolved in parts 2 and 3. True, some of the plot does end up seeming contrived, but I think that's what happens when you consolidate a story into 1/3 of what it was meant to be. Maybe it would have been better to throw out the whole thing and re-write it, but I think it works as is. Anyway, that's the designers' prerogative. People don't have to play it if they don't like it. And with a commercial game, that sort of thing would likely affect sales. In which direction is not clear - do a lot of people dislike the way things are being done, or is it just a very vocal minority? I'm not sure how you would make sure you had a representative sample for something like this. I guess that's why there are marketing people. :)

interesting thing you;re saying, it kind of appeases me,m thoug I would have accepted an open ending as a sort or preliude to never to be realised other trilogy parts- a false sense of victory being one way to comprimise; there being a real ending..but not being one in the sense it would leave an opening for further stories. I hope I'm making myself clear here.

But I'll be glad to see something how shall I put it...tangible, that feels like and end, rather than just closure..there is a difference between these two, since closure implies subverting expectations of the receivers, while an ending ios something that grants them satisfaction and pleasure that the character has reached some definite end after hios trial and tribulations.

I would say it does  work.  I, for one, am not saying it doesn't it's just that when you play it it does feel like it's only a forestaste and a prelude to a part two, that would have been much bigger.  That;s why I was so far convcined that te ending would be a closure. And that's why my feeling is that some people may be somewhat disappointed hence they seem to be saying that battle or mini game saequences take up precvious time for a narriative without adding anything...while it's the contrary, in my mind.  

  
Title: Re: Episode 4: Feedback and Thoughts
Post by: Numbers on November 10, 2011, 10:30:28 AM
One thing I'm a little confused about is Shadrack's eyes.  When episode 3 came out, the cutscene where he gleefully mocks Valanice depicts him as having red eyes, but when I saw this scene again in the episode 4 release, his eyes were hidden from view.  Edgar even says that Shadrack has "scary red eyes" in the opening cutscene from episode 1, but his eyes weren't visible in that scene either.  In fact, the only scene where Shadrack's eyes are visible at this point is the huge Shadrack head that swallows Graham in the closing cutscene of episode 4.

Is this deliberate?  Were the eyes in the episode 3 cutscene removed for any particular reason, or just because they were slightly out-of-sync with his face?

This isn't a big deal, it's purely an aesthetic issue for me.  I have a sort of affinity for glowing eyes (just look at my avatar).  I just think he looks more intimidating when you see his eyes and it becomes obvious that Shadrack is more of a monster than he is human.
Title: Re: Episode 4: Feedback and Thoughts
Post by: aaadsa on November 10, 2011, 01:46:19 PM
I found the puzzles in episode 4 to be pretty easy. I realize with adventure games it's often a matter of luck (whether you thought of something / tried something or missed it), but in this case it so happens that I finished the episode pretty quickly and wasn't stuck for too long on anything, except for one little place where I think the game text wasn't clear enough and threw me off course.

Regarding the Pandora's box challenge: I chose the normal level as it sounded reasonable. I managed to finish it after a while (though it was quite annoying), but I have to wonder: have you thought what this might do to an epileptic person? I mean with all the circles swirling, appearing and disappearing constantly, that can't be good for an epileptic, right?

Also, some of us are old school adventure gamers. By that I obviously mean old and slow :P It's pretty hard for us, and we don't expect to have our reflexes/hand-eye coordination tested in a King's Quest adventure game. ;)

To be blunt, the last two challenges (Pandora's box and the boss fight) seemed like someone was just using the fact that it's a freely distributed game to experiment, shoving his/her weird ideas to a large audience of people (who shouldn't really complain, since they're getting the game for free, right?). And when I say "experiment", I mean in a bad way. Adventure games are adventure games; you can add a few easy arcade games on the side (maybe even as easter eggs), but when you make them hard and focal it's stretching it beyond what fans of the genre are willing to accept. You're basically shoving stuff to a crowd of people who are not interested in this sort of game play - YOU may be interested in experimenting with that. Your audience is NOT - Experiment within the boundaries of the genre - don't change it completely to the point you're alienating your audience.

Regarding the narration: it's cute at times, annoying at others. Self consciousness is great from time to time and can add another comic dimension to a game but you need to be careful not to overdo it and overshadow the story, and in this case it was definitely too much at times.

Last but not least: thanks for your efforts developing the game. Even though I raised some issues that bothered me above, overall I have to say I found episode 4 to be quite enjoyable. The artisans' boulevard was especially beautifully designed so kudos to whoever was in charge of that!

Title: Re: Episode 4: Feedback and Thoughts
Post by: Karens12345 on November 10, 2011, 01:54:17 PM
congrats on a new episode, nice to see it's still going strong,

Im still playing the game, but, sad to say, like a deja vu from ep2-3 the game still seem to suffer from the exact same problems as the other chapters,

 and never before have the game felt so much like work when solving puzzles, traveling from place to place, back and forth, east and west,, pick up this, give this to him, get another item etc etc, it does feel very flat, monotone and trivial to be honest, where is the creativity of puzzles and the originality..?

even if the bugs and screen transitions seem to have been ironed out, I have to admit it has become a painfully dull gaming experience, and I hate to say it but Im going to have to wait for a walkthrough before finishing this, that's how boring the back and forth and fetch and bring have become to me. Cause I really want to see the rest of the game, the atmosphere, the dialogue etc, that's still worth playing TSL for imo,

but it surprises me hearing the designers intending for puzzles and sequences to be frustrating and essentially 'bad'!!.. what! :)
and because the outcome will then make you feel even more grateful, that you eventually got through it...
 
it's kinda like saying, hey, if your hamster died you'll be so sad that buying a new one will make you delirious with joy....
 that's cuckoo game design logic if you ask me...

considering how easy it would be to fix this by implementing a more in depth map transportation or in-game hint system (so you don't have to travel to 10 places just to get the final hint), would have made the game so much more fun and enjoyable.
Makes me sad thinking about how nice it would have been if you could concentrate on puzzles and story and not transportation and walking/running..

and you could really enjoy what makes it good, the nice talks, the atmosphere and parts of the cool backstory, and puzzles that aren't that bad at all, just a bit unoriginal, flat and trivial. Actually a lot of 'good' adv games have the same thing, often far worse puzzles too than TSL, but they're still considered quality games because of the solid, open dynamic gameplay lifting the whole thing up,,
in TSL it's the opposite, the slow gameplay makes the okay puzzles actually seem boring and syrupy,

It doesn't matter how the plot and story goes, if the gameplay is slow and tedious the puzzles and plot will feel the same,, and you've got a problem...

but Im repeating myself since the last chapter. It's the same criticism, and considering 99 percent of the team aren't to blame, it's not really fair to say it's the team's fault,, like someone said on this thread; a bad design is a bad design, and if it doesn't change over time it makes for a bad designer,


and if that feels unfair to say you don't have to look further than the many game reviews of TSL all over the web and how most non die hard KQ adventure game fans see TSL; it's getting more and more slaughtered for every chapter released :(

so maybe it's time to do something radical for chapter 5 to substantiate the 10 years TSL has been in development, and all the team members who have come and gone, but never really felt like they had a say other than the color of textures and the design of a lamp...
 maybe creating a truly fun, effective gameplay would be the best way to justify that, hmm :)
Title: Re: Episode 4: Feedback and Thoughts
Post by: Arkillian on November 10, 2011, 02:23:12 PM
I must admit, the travelling was a pain in the ass. The Isle of Beast and the Castle got an audible groan out of me cause it was time consuming bouncing between them constantly for stuff. That may just be how this chapter was though. I loved the Isle of the Winged ones though :) That was cool ^^
Title: Re: Episode 4: Feedback and Thoughts
Post by: Nonpartisan on November 10, 2011, 11:32:47 PM
Good goddamn, this is a great game.  I can't get over the visuals -- they look better than some professional games.  Frankly, if it weren't buggy as hell, I wouldn't notice it was a fangame at all (hey, it's my fault for playing it the first weekend it's out...I'm sure the bugs will all be gone in a month or two).

Three highlights for me: the city of the Winged Ones was utterly gorgeous.  Shadrack's voice blew me away with how professional it sounded.  And Amy Kurylo's singing voice is divine (and the song is divine too!).

Great job, guys!  Now get to work squelching all those bugs.  :)
Title: Re: Episode 4: Feedback and Thoughts
Post by: aimless on November 11, 2011, 10:20:51 PM

Also, some of us are old school adventure gamers. By that I obviously mean old and slow :P It's pretty hard for us, and we don't expect to have our reflexes/hand-eye coordination tested in a King's Quest adventure game. ;)

To be blunt, the last two challenges (Pandora's box and the boss fight) seemed like someone was just using the fact that it's a freely distributed game to experiment, shoving his/her weird ideas to a large audience of people (who shouldn't really complain, since they're getting the game for free, right?). And when I say "experiment", I mean in a bad way. Adventure games are adventure games; you can add a few easy arcade games on the side (maybe even as easter eggs), but when you make them hard and focal it's stretching it beyond what fans of the genre are willing to accept. You're basically shoving stuff to a crowd of people who are not interested in this sort of game play - YOU may be interested in experimenting with that. Your audience is NOT - Experiment within the boundaries of the genre - don't change it completely to the point you're alienating your audience.

That's it in a nutshell although Karsten made some excellent points, too.  I don't play adventure games to have my reflexes tested and if this is the way you intend to keep going, I very much doubt I'll be playing Episode 5 or, to be honest, any future games you intend to make.

I really wanted to like TSL.  I kept going through some game-killing bugs with the aid of a walkthrough...a scroll with crucial info that wouldn't open at the maze, cut scenes that wouldn't play, sudden slowdowns that made it necessary to save, quit and reopen the game...even cursed my way through that ride up the mountain.  Then I ran into Pandora's Box and that was it for me.  Mental challenges I can deal with and enjoy, having to jump through hoops like that with unresponsive reflexes like mine when the puzzle itself was so obvious as to be insanely simple, was too much. 

You seem adamant about adding what I see as RPG elements to point and click adventure games.  So be it.  If that's the case, and this is what the future holds for them, I can see I'll be replaying the great adventures I already own, games like Grim Fandango, Broken Mirror, ZGI, the Sherlock Holmes games and Lost Horizon to name a few, that challenge the mind, not the reflexes.
Title: Re: Episode 4: Feedback and Thoughts
Post by: DeadDancers on November 12, 2011, 07:03:48 AM
Favourite chapter so far!

Still a little too much blah-blah and verbal exposition - seriously Graham, you're supposed to be saving your kids, not wandering down memory lane.  ;D

That said, I thought the bit about Alexander was much more interesting - and relevant - than Rosella, considering the circumstances.

Graham is still a shameless kleptomaniac
Can I have this? No reply? That must mean yes!
and I cracked up so hard when
the beast killed him
as a result of his light-fingered habits.

Valanice's back-story is really interesting - my sincere congratulations and gratitude for the story you've weaved for the whole family.  :-*

Oh and the tailor's accent - I love it!

(Posted on: November 12, 2011, 08:41:50 AM)


I must admit, the travelling was a pain in the ass. The Isle of Beast and the Castle got an audible groan out of me cause it was time consuming bouncing between them constantly for stuff. That may just be how this chapter was though. I loved the Isle of the Winged ones though :) That was cool ^^

Oh yes, I forgot to mention that.

The travelling really was painful at times - I missed Alexander's magic map. Why couldn't Graham have boosted that from his son's possessions?

I liked that leaving the Beast's castle put you past a section of the maze, but maybe after the first time, simply entering the
cut open hedge
can be enough to enter the castle?

The running around is especially painful when you're not sure what to do next and you're checking to see if you missed picking up a random item or not. Another possible solution is double-clicking on the edge of the screen to automatically fade to the next area? (That could be an option switched on or off by the player as their patience shortens or lengthens? Sometimes walking through an area is desirable for immersion.)

Speaking of boosting items, I thought it very odd that
Graham arbitrarily would take the tinderbox and flute
at the very beginning, for no apparent reason, despite not taking anything else because he had 'no reason to'.

And yeah, the Isle of the Winged Ones was GORGEOUS. And the dude with the purple hair - hilarious. Thanks for letting us finally
fly around the place.
:)

(Posted on: November 12, 2011, 09:03:43 AM)



I wish Edgar would stop moping about and dragging the story down. Everyone has something to do but him :< He just sits there and broods. I hope he gets something to do in episode 5 finally. He is a newly wed husband who hasn't been able to show his support for his wife.

Heh. He is so incredibly wussy/pansy that I am convinced that Rosella married him purely to become princess of Etheria.

We need a story where Alexander and Edgar have to team up to save their respective wives, and the questing experience (and Alexander's example) man that blond prince up!

And then Alexander and Edgar run away together.  :rofl:
Title: Re: Episode 4: Feedback and Thoughts
Post by: Datadog on November 12, 2011, 05:42:06 PM
 I finally got Pandora's Box after two hours of staring at symbols and screaming at the circles to slow down and stop disappearing every two seconds.

 I'm not kidding. Two hours. No wonder Valanice went crazy! I was also ready to tear out my hair and throw myself off a balcony after that.

 In other words, congratulations! I haven't been driven this crazy by a puzzle since KQ3!
Title: Re: Episode 4: Feedback and Thoughts
Post by: maatathena on November 12, 2011, 10:18:46 PM
I posted some of this in the fight thread, but I wanted to add some positives!

I liked the hedge maze.  I didn't have too many bug problems so I was good with it.

Really I liked the puzzles in general (and I played this on a newer computer so I enjoyed it more than previous chapters cause it ran better)  This was the first one I didn't have to resort to a walkthrough due to computer issues so I had a nice time. 

I liked the time reverse bits, I found it a nice touch and there is no reason for me to think on it too hard, its just fun :)

Small things:  I took the wood to the termites expecting them to make me a horn, so imagine my shock when they made me a white king!  There were a number of things I did "by accident", did that come up at all in beta or with others??

Agree with others the travel between islands got tedious.

LOVED the Isle of the Sacred Mountain!!!!

The episodic nature means that I forget things from last time, I assumed I had already read the poem book in the bookstore for a really long time.  Its hard to remember what you tried, what you didn't, and what's different now.  I really would like to avoid episodic stuff in the future. 

Why the hell couldn't I just ask the Beast/Prince for the horn?  I didn't go back and talk to him because I realized what I was supposed to do, was that addressed if I were to talk to him again? 

Also I got frustrated that I couldn't directly address the muse playing the harp, trying to talk to just her got me her 2 annoying sisters.  That stalled me for a LONG time!

Also, WE HAVE A GENIE!  Why is everything so hard? :)

Where DID the actual white king go? 

I thought the fact that the scepter/locket fight with the queens got emphasized meant I should be looking for a locket, and giving one of them them the baton, that threw me off for quite a while!

I have to BUILD a paintbrush when my comatose son has one just lying around????

I love the overarching story can't wait to see where it goes.

Was that the pumpkin house from KQ7 in the cutscene at the very beginning???  Cause that's awesome!

And as I and many others have stated, I HATED the last 2 sections.  If I want to play an RPG, I will play an RPG.  I didn't play QFG cause I didn't like those elements.  And no, this was nothing like the ending sequence from KQ5, which as I have said, was a puzzle battle.  And really, I have to assemble 12 zodiac signs????  There should be a puzzle about which 4 I need, then I assemble those 4.  12 is just stupid, and so is having the narrator in that puzzle.  And no, I wasn't tense after it became obvious I wasn't on a timer and wasn't going to get killed.

And really Valanice?  You should be prepared to sacrifice your own child for the sake of the world.  The whole time I was being forced to open the Pandora's Box all I could think was, if you open this the world ends, so we all die anyway, why am I doing this?????

Keep the puzzles semi logical and quit with the hand-eye coordinating arcade stuff, and I will LOVE LOVE LOVE episode 5.
Title: Re: Episode 4: Feedback and Thoughts
Post by: meg_math on November 12, 2011, 10:59:28 PM
I want to congratulate everyone involved in the creation of this game on their excellent work. I have enjoyed playing all the episodes. The arcade type sequences are also great, maybe frustrating at times but with endings that make them well worth the effort. At the
end of the Shadrack fight
I almost screamed with delight  :).

What peaks my curiosity is the different death messages and narrations on each click or action. I keep clicking on anything and everything I can and many times I end up giggling or laughing out loud at the narrator's comments. My complements to Amy  8).

At the same time, there is the intensity of the storyline that makes this game so gripping. It's almost like watching an interactive movie. All the voice actors are terrific and really play their characters well. I love how Valanice is becoming an integral part of the story and
the whole druid thing
is very exciting.

Keep it up guys! I look forward to playing episode 5.
Title: Re: Episode 4: Feedback and Thoughts
Post by: Big C from Cauney island on November 15, 2011, 01:59:38 PM
Seriously amazing episode!!! Where to begin.. The beast maze, though I was expecting something more like the dungeon of KQ5, was awesome. Visually very impressive. The same goes for the winged ones city.  The boss battle was cool, as was the valanice puzzle. I had to switch it to easy to pass.  It seems like the visuals in this chapter definitely stepped up a notch. I would say in total it took me 7 hours to finish. At times, it was frustrating going between islands, but that is minor.  There were some glitches in the boss fight, but a cool fight none the less.  I was so angry when the game ended, I've got to see chapter five. I REALLY have to see it, especially with a new graphics engine. What will you be using?

Anyways, well done and well thought out. You did the green isles proud.  Some funny parts too.
I don't know how you guys did this in your spare time.  Wow. Just Wow.  And that piece of wood was way to heavy for graham to carry. That was pretty hilarious for me.
Title: Re: Episode 4: Feedback and Thoughts
Post by: waltzdancing on November 15, 2011, 05:52:41 PM
We will be using Unity for Episode 5. We are pretty excited about it.
Title: Re: Episode 4: Feedback and Thoughts
Post by: KatieHal on November 15, 2011, 06:46:43 PM
Thanks Big C! :)
Title: Re: Episode 4: Feedback and Thoughts
Post by: Thaumaturge on November 17, 2011, 05:35:19 PM
First of all, I really enjoyed this episode, I do believe! ^_^

I've already mentioned in the "Feedback on the fight" thread my feelings on that puzzle and the Pandora's Box puzzle, so I'll leave those aside here, other than again to say that I like the concepts.

Primarily, however, I would like to say that I think that the Isle of the Beast had what is perhaps one of my favourite implementations of a maze in an adventure game: specifically, the overhead perspective but limited viewing area allowed one to explore without truly getting lost, and the broad avenues (rather wider than the usual hedge maze, I suspect) kept things visible and allowed space to interact.  Well done on an overall non-annoying - even at times enjoyable - maze implementation, if I may say! ^_^

My criticisms of the maze are navigational:

First, the movement mechanism used by the game became a little annoying in this setting, as moving around involved (for me) fairly rapid repeated clicking as Graham moved.  Perhaps more suited might have been a "driving" mechanism in which one clicks and holds to have Graham walk towards the cursor or, lessening the shift in control scheme, a more complex pathfinding that might have allowed Graham to find his way around a turn or two.

Second, I ended up navigating the maze more than once, especially since I managed to miss that there were two parts to find, as I recall, and while I recall enjoying the initial explorations, re-navigating the maze was a little tedious, I think. While the suggestions given above for the first issue would likely help here, another suggestion to this might be to allow Graham to "teleport" (perhaps hidden by some camera-work) to any part of the maze already covered.

As to Graham's ride, I will say only this:
Villain NOM!
;P

[edit]
Oh, and I'm glad to read that you're moving over to Unity, by the way.  Having used both Torque and Unity, as I recall, I remember being glad to leave Torque behind and enjoying the use of Unity.  Enjoy! ^_^
Title: Re: Episode 4: Feedback and Thoughts
Post by: DawsonJ on November 17, 2011, 11:53:55 PM
Ok... I really enjoyed the visuals of the game, and the added areas were amazing! The music was perfect.

Personally, my issues, though, were (besides the initial cutscene) Graham basically got zero emotional support in this episode. He had a few short conversations, but little was substantial. I kept waiting for a nice long conversation with Shamir, which didn't happen - just a short, rather obvious, conversation.

Also, there was no clear separation between the directions and the "X Marks the Spot" image in the maze - I thought they were the same place, which drove me nuts.

A retcon: according to KQVI, the Beast's state (pre-Beauty) had become intertwined with Alexander's state - hence, the Becoming a Beast 'Death' in KQVI. This game by no means reflects that extension of the curse. Actually, that should apply to anyone on that Isle, now.

Finally, the last two parts: I had to take an anti-anxiety pill and 3 Excedrin to finish the battle sequence.
And, as previously noted, the Box puzzle isn't ideal for people with seizures. Since I have seizures, and am prone to dizziness and migraines, that puzzle really put me on edge - no strong reactions, just a little dizziness and a headache. Then again, my seizures aren't caused by flashing lights, but I am sympathetic to those who have that issue.
Title: Re: Episode 4: Feedback and Thoughts
Post by: KatieHal on November 18, 2011, 05:59:29 AM
Dawson--re: the map locations, that's odd. The story should have a title that mentions a Key while the picture has a title that mentions a Lock. I forget the exact words off the top of my head, but did they not show up for you?
Title: Re: Episode 4: Feedback and Thoughts
Post by: DawsonJ on November 18, 2011, 11:24:42 AM
Katie, I'll check when I get a chance, but I don't recall any clear signs.

Also, did you notice my comment about the typing error in the Narrator's subtitles when looking at the statue in the maze? (Currently "...love" instead of "...loves")
Title: Re: Episode 4: Feedback and Thoughts
Post by: Fender178 on November 18, 2011, 12:03:36 PM
You guys did an amazing job with Ep4. I was very impressed. I really liked the Pandora's box opening puzzle that was a tough one. I rank that one as one of the hardest puzzles that I have ever done in a Kings Quest based game. I rank that one up with the puzzle in Torrin's Passage where you have to organize the creatures to get perfect harmony to open up the Chamber to go down to the next area.

I also like the interaction with Pan I thought that was a great idea and added a little bit of nostalgia hearing some of the music from KQIV. I also liked the interaction with the Prince and Beauty on the Isle of the Beast. One of my favorite deaths is where you try to
take the real painting
off of Beast and he kills you that one took me by surprise. I like the pun that the narrator says after falling down the grate that was very funny.
Title: Re: Episode 4: Feedback and Thoughts
Post by: DawsonJ on November 18, 2011, 03:38:28 PM
Katie, I just checked the Key and Lock clues. They're both labeled, but the Lock title is in a small cursive font, so it looks more like "The Path to the Lord", as in Lord of the Castle. So I took it as some reference to the Rose poem that I missed.
Title: Re: Episode 4: Feedback and Thoughts
Post by: Thaumaturge on November 19, 2011, 11:06:37 AM
I think that I had a similar problem with the lock-and-key puzzle; in my case, I think that it was simply that I was expecting a single item to go into the hole (the "key", with the hole being the "lock"), and took the "lock" title on the scroll as an error. ^^;
Title: Re: Episode 4: Feedback and Thoughts
Post by: Demidronik on November 19, 2011, 11:19:23 AM
I think that I had a similar problem with the lock-and-key puzzle; in my case, I think that it was simply that I was expecting a single item to go into the hole (the "key", with the hole being the "lock"), and took the "lock" title on the scroll as an error. ^^;

Same here, but I guess it was good that it was the only puzzle that stumped me for more than an hour.
Title: Feedback and Thoughts
Post by: aaadsa on November 22, 2011, 06:50:26 PM
Am I correct in assuming that the 5th episode will take place in an entirely different scenery?

It's just that I think there's a lot of potential left in the existing places that wasn't fully explored, mainly in the winged city (main square contains lovely unexplored structures and people to talk to) and the island of the beast (palace barely explored, e.g. the room at the top and interesting objects).

I'm not sure if all these objects were cut out due to schedule constraints or added as scenery in the first place - seems like an awful waste either way..
Title: Re: Feedback and Thoughts
Post by: wilco64256 on November 22, 2011, 07:00:57 PM
Am I correct in assuming that the 5th episode will take place in an entirely different scenery?

Yes.
Title: Re: Episode 4: Feedback and Thoughts
Post by: Numbers on November 23, 2011, 10:51:40 AM
Eh, between this game and KQ6, I think we've seen enough of the Green Isles.  Bring on the Dreamworld!

I'm assuming that the strange castle behind the Ranger near the end of the episode was the city of Astratos that the Black Widow mentioned way back in episode two.  Whether or not it is Astratos, it looks pretty trippy--and visually more interesting than most of the actual environments from the official games.
Title: Re: Episode 4: Feedback and Thoughts
Post by: Tinu on November 26, 2011, 09:18:05 AM
Phew, finally done.

I've left my feedback on the fight and the box puzzle in the other thread so I won't recap it here.

The plot progression was great this time around. Would really appreciate if there was some way to replay just certain cutscenes like the story of Pandora like a memory option at the main title page that unlocks as the game progresses.

Having to travel to and fro the islands got really tedious as the game went on though. It would've been nice to be able to skip through some of it after the first time around, like the Winged One's city and the hedge maze.

I also found some of the puzzles to be a little unintuitive, like at one point I was just giving up and using every item in my inventory on random items/people.

Giving the statue to the Winged artist who didn't want to have anything to do with me was one of those 'never know unless you try' moments because there was really nothing to indicate that he might help outside of the Narrator saying 'he might be able to help'. I mean, he practically gave me the 'talk to the hand' from the get go.

Using the emerald on the painting was also a 'walkthrough pls' moment for me. The description said it could capture/store a memory, that made me think that it was to be used on a person, but apparently it was just a glorified camera. wat.

Title: Re: Episode 4: Feedback and Thoughts
Post by: Lenny318 on November 27, 2011, 02:07:52 AM
I finally finished it and I must say it was wonderful and I can't wait for Episode 5 but I also agree that it may not be my favorite part so far, but it's actually close.  I loved the visuals, the music (I wanted to hang around Pan and not distract the Muses just to listen to the music), the voice acting, the plot, and everything overall.

So most of my issues probably just have to do with me, like solving certain puzzles on accident
I made the brush before even finding the Winged People
and not figuring out others.
I thought the Druid fruit was for Valanice or for some purpose greater than duplicating the paining.
 I also made too many assumptions about where I could and couldn't go, as did my brother and dad when they played together
Mainly with the Winged People, the artists' place is obviously a place you can get to, but after clicking a house or two and hearing that you don't want to go there, you may miss out on talking to Azure, and if you were me and talked to Azure first, I just assumed you couldn't even go to the wall at all until you summoned the four winds, so I didn't know where to play the instruments, again that's a "durrr" moment for me.

I did enjoy dying to actually figure out what had to be done
I think I died in every way possible in Chessboard Land, once cause I wanted to talk to them again for fun, once cause I didn't paint the piece, and then because the King wasn't moving or talking.  But I still wanna know where the real king is...

I also got a little frustrated with the amount of time it took to get from place to place but I think that's mostly due to the fact that it reminded me of how I didn't know what to do, if I had a plan or an idea, it didn't bother me as much.

Since there's already a thread about the puzzle and battle at the end I won't comment much about it, I'll just say that overall I liked them, even the glitch I encountered where the battle just kinda went on without me and I died... twice... in the same fight.  I found it humorous it was a nice break.  I also thought the progression of the music as the game went on was amazingly awesome!

The main thing I'm worried about is how much of the remaining plot/story is going to get attention in the final chapter.  I was kind of hoping the whole "prophesy" thing with regards to Alexander and Rosella would be explained a little more but it still focused on Graham and Valanice, which is cool but again, with one chapter remaining, I'm just wondering if that will be fully explained.  I'm still hoping Edgar breaks out some awesome in the final chapter.  Since I love that guy and have the audio of his conversation with Graham that was available on this site years ago, I did notice a few of his lines were cut, I don't have any major thoughts or issues with that, I just noticed it so I'll probably wonder why they were cut.  If Episode 5 is long in order to fit everything in, I won't complain at all  ;)

If I think of more I'll edit this and add it in...

You guys have done excellent work and I am loving these games! <3
Title: Re: Episode 4: Feedback and Thoughts
Post by: DawsonJ on November 27, 2011, 10:50:29 AM
I remember someone (Katie, I believe) saying that in this Episode, we would find out the source of the shears that fly in front of us in Episode 3. But, I didn't see any source for those, especially since no one had those - or even mentioned them - during the chess match. Did I miss something?

Edit:
Katie's comments on the shears are near the bottom:
http://www.postudios.com/blog/forum/index.php?topic=10036.60
Title: Re: Episode 4: Feedback and Thoughts
Post by: KatieHal on November 27, 2011, 04:55:23 PM
 The 'why' of it is that Pandora's Box was opened, and things are moving backwards/being undone. Hence Sing Sing's chicks are eggs, the Prince is a Beast again, the shears are being thrown again, etc.
Title: Re: Episode 4: Feedback and Thoughts
Post by: DawsonJ on November 27, 2011, 05:46:33 PM
The 'why' of it is that Pandora's Box was opened, and things are moving backwards/being undone. Hence Sing Sing's chicks are eggs, the Prince is a Beast again, the shears are being thrown again, etc.

I understand the reversing of time, but the celebration itself isn't happening at that time. So who threw the shears?

That seems comparable to going back in time, diverting the attention of JFK's shooter, just to have the gun shoot the president by itself.
No people around means the shears learned how to fly on their own.  ::)
Hence, my confusion.
Title: Re: Episode 4: Feedback and Thoughts
Post by: snabbott on November 28, 2011, 11:52:26 AM
But I still wanna know where the real king is...
If I had to be around those queens, I think I'd go missing, too - where nobody would ever find me! :P
Title: Re: Episode 4: Feedback and Thoughts
Post by: writerlove on November 28, 2011, 04:32:22 PM
But I still wanna know where the real king is...
If I had to be around those queens, I think I'd go missing, too - where nobody would ever find me! :P

I would too! They would drive me absolutely insane!
Title: Re: Episode 4: Feedback and Thoughts
Post by: fluxmaster on November 30, 2011, 06:15:17 PM
Overall, a great episode.

The best part about opening Pandora's box and the fight scene was that they were both at the end, so that you could skip them without missing any of the adventure play.  I stopped playing when I got to the Pandora's box part and watched the rest on Let's Play Videos.  As episode 5 approaches, I may decide to play them, but, for the moment, I am finished playing this episode.

I know that many others have commented on the Pandora's Box sequence, but I want to weigh in on why I didn't like it.  The problem for me was not the game mechanism, but the fact that no understanding whatsoever of the symbols was required to complete the puzzle.  In fact, you're not manipulating the symbols at all, but merely assembling the four corners of each symbols to form a complete symbol.  The actual symbols used were totally irrelevant to anything.  You could have used letters of the alphabet, Egyptian hieroglyphics, or Chinese ideograms, and the puzzle would have been the same.  I think you were trying not to make the puzzle too hard but ended up making it extremely tedious and frustrating instead.

I realize that your intention was to invoke the frustration that Valanice must have been feeling trying to open the box.  That brings to mind an old flight simulator that Sierra put out in its early days.  In order to invoke in the user the feeling of danger and responsibility that the pilot must face, the program was designed such that, if the user crashed the plane, the program would crash the user's computer and mess up his hard drive.  Needless to say, it didn't go over too well.

By contrast, let me give you an example of what I consider to be an excellent puzzle involving symbols.  It occurs in the game King's Quest III Plus:  An Heir Raising Tale by Crystal Shard Games (http://www.crystalshard.net/index.php?p=8#).  I'm not giving this example to plug the game, even though I was listed in the credits as a beta tester.  I'm doing so because I really like this puzzle.  In this game, in order to make the spells, you actually have to decode the symbols in the spell book, and in order to decode the symbols, you have to find two separate documents which function as a sort of Rosetta Stone.  I discuss this in this thread:

http://www.agdinteractive.com/forum/viewtopic.php?f=32&t=15412

If you had used symbols that the user had to actually decode and understand, then you could have kept the same mechanism of the spinning circles, but had complete symbols on the spinning wheels instead of fragments, and the puzzle would have been interesting rather than merely tedious and frustrating.  The symbols could have represented, for example, numbers and directions such as left and right, and it could have been like opening a combination lock.

However, the fight scene that came later looked more interesting, so, as I've said, as episode 5 approaches, I may try to complete Pandora's box in order to get to the fight scene.
Title: Re: Episode 4: Feedback and Thoughts
Post by: KatieHal on November 30, 2011, 08:00:06 PM
The symbols are the zodiac symbols for specific reasons--some of which have been hinted at already, but you're right, it hasn't been spelled out thus far. That is something we perhaps could have done more of earlier on, to help with this puzzle.

Also, ooo, a KQ remake I haven't heard played before! Where might one download this from? :)
Title: Re: Episode 4: Feedback and Thoughts
Post by: fluxmaster on November 30, 2011, 10:36:47 PM
Also, ooo, a KQ remake I haven't heard played before! Where might one download this from? :)

The link was actually provided in my previous post (somewhat hidden), but here it is again:

http://www.crystalshard.net/index.php?p=8#

From The Vault, click on the link for Kings Quest III+ on the left, then click on the Download link on the right.

A couple of caveats:


After you've played the part in Llewdor, check my thread above for how to see the ending of the game.
Title: Re: Episode 4: Feedback and Thoughts
Post by: DawsonJ on November 30, 2011, 10:50:50 PM
The symbols are the zodiac symbols for specific reasons--some of which have been hinted at already, but you're right, it hasn't been spelled out thus far. That is something we perhaps could have done more of earlier on, to help with this puzzle.

The Zodiac symbols are the Silver Cloaks, as they gave themselves up to seal the great evil - Shadrack. Though, because Pandora sealed the Box that she stole for THEM, their symbols represent their efforts in the primary sealing process. Or, possibly, she used some of their power.
Right?
Title: Re: Episode 4: Feedback and Thoughts
Post by: tessspoon on November 30, 2011, 10:57:30 PM
Also, ooo, a KQ remake I haven't heard played before! Where might one download this from? :)
I had some trouble getting to run at first, there was some talk about workarounds here (http://www.postudios.com/blog/forum/index.php?topic=9948.0).


A couple of caveats:

  • You can only play the part in Llewdor and the encounter with the abominable snowman.  Most of the rest of the game is walkable, though.
  • You have to play from the beginning through to the encounter with Medusa all in one sitting; otherwise, the game will crash when you try to deal with Medusa or with the bandit in the treehouse.  After you have dealt with Medusa, you can save the game and finish it another day.

After you've played the part in Llewdor, check my thread above for how to see the ending of the game.
Are you supposed to be able to defeat Manannan? From what I remember the walkthrough didn't go that far and I got stuck, not sure if I was even able to go on.
Title: Re: Episode 4: Feedback and Thoughts
Post by: snabbott on December 01, 2011, 08:16:48 AM
The symbols are the zodiac symbols for specific reasons--some of which have been hinted at already, but you're right, it hasn't been spelled out thus far. That is something we perhaps could have done more of earlier on, to help with this puzzle.

The Zodiac symbols are the Silver Cloaks, as they gave themselves up to seal the great evil - Shadrack. Though, because Pandora sealed the Box that she stole for THEM, their symbols represent their efforts in the primary sealing process. Or, possibly, she used some of their power.
Right?
Another interesting theory... :suffer:
Title: Re: Episode 4: Feedback and Thoughts
Post by: KatieHal on December 01, 2011, 08:51:02 AM
What snabbott said!  :suffer:
Title: Re: Episode 4: Feedback and Thoughts
Post by: drusain on December 01, 2011, 09:41:33 AM
Will Shadrack say more Sith lines? There's already the "this could work to our advantage" line from Phantom Menace said by Palpatine at the end of Ep.3 and "sometimes the pupil does surpass the master!" which was close to Vader's line in New Hope at the end of Ep.4 ;)

If Manannan isn't the Ranger I hope this is some big build up where Shadrack will try to kill Valanice and Manannan will stop Shadrack vis-a-vis Vader stops Palpatine from killing Luke. Shadrack can even use a Palpatine line from Revenge of the Sith and say "Are you threatening me, Master Jedi Brother Manannan?"  ;D
Title: Re: Episode 4: Feedback and Thoughts
Post by: Thaumaturge on December 01, 2011, 11:51:27 AM
Hmm...  I do think that fluxmaster may have a point -his suggestion of basing the puzzle on selection from the wheels of specific symbols based on understanding of them, rather than building up symbols from parts, may well have strengthened the puzzle: it may have tied it into the story even more tightly, reduced frustration by reducing the number of selections called for per symbol and increased tension by allowing more frequent feedback (imagine, for example, Shadrack making threats or accusing Valanice of "throwing" the puzzle every few incorrect selections).

However, I do see the relevance of the symbols being zodiacal, I do believe.  So, how about this: through the game, the player is presented with little pieces of information regarding the Silver Cloaks, and in particular how they related to each other and to the symbols.  In the unlocking sequence, this information is repeated on the wall behind the puzzle, perhaps in a symbolic form calling for a little bit of interpretation, but primarily serving as a reminder for players who were paying attention and a repetition for those who weren't.  The puzzle then becomes a matter of determining the correct next symbol in order, finding it on the wheels, and finally selecting it, perhaps against some of the difficulty-inducing measures used in the game (the fading of the wheels, for example).  Difficulty levels might then affect the number of incorrect guesses that one is allowed before the puzzle resets, perhaps with some means of changing the order (perhaps by having that order be dependent on clues given on the box?), and/or the number of incorrect guesses or resets before Shadrack decides that you're trying to trick him and kills both Rosella and Valanice.
Title: Re: Episode 4: Feedback and Thoughts
Post by: Numbers on December 01, 2011, 12:20:09 PM
Will Shadrack say more Sith lines? There's already the "this could work to our advantage" line from Phantom Menace said by Palpatine at the end of Ep.3 and "sometimes the pupil does surpass the master!" which was close to Vader's line in New Hope at the end of Ep.4 ;)

If Manannan isn't the Ranger I hope this is some big build up where Shadrack will try to kill Valanice and Manannan will stop Shadrack vis-a-vis Vader stops Palpatine from killing Luke. Shadrack can even use a Palpatine line from Revenge of the Sith and say "Are you threatening me, Master Jedi Brother Manannan?"  ;D

This reminds me of a parody of Revenge of the Sith I saw a while ago.

Palpatine:  I think we can use this to our advantage...
Underling:  I--I'm afraid I don't see how, my Lord.
Palpatine:  Oh, it's just one of those things I say from time to time, you'll get used to it.
Title: Re: Episode 4: Feedback and Thoughts
Post by: fluxmaster on December 01, 2011, 09:48:57 PM
Are you supposed to be able to defeat Manannan? From what I remember the walkthrough didn't go that far and I got stuck, not sure if I was even able to go on.

Not without cheating.  However, there is a "Stuff Pockets" function that lets you get every possible inventory item.  You can use it to get the tainted porridge and then give the porridge to Manannan.  But you must use it early in the game.  If you try to use it late in the game, Manannan will insist on eating fruit and refuse the porridge.  Also, there is a graphical glitch when Manannan turns into a cat.

But, yeah, if we knew the reason that Valanice had to assemble the zodiacal signs, then the puzzle would make more sense.
Title: Re: Episode 4: Feedback and Thoughts
Post by: daventry on February 01, 2012, 01:23:02 AM
When will Ep5 come out and will it Explain All, since Ep4 dident explain Anything and just added More Confusion.  ???

I have a sad feeling that Ep5 will be rushed with a quick ending so that the Developers can get on with Cognition, i mean the Whole Site is ready for it.  :-\
Title: Re: Episode 4: Feedback and Thoughts
Post by: KatieHal on February 01, 2012, 07:31:55 AM
We don't have a release date for Episode 5 yet.
Title: Re: Episode 4: Feedback and Thoughts
Post by: snabbott on February 01, 2012, 07:42:18 AM
I have a sad feeling that Ep5 will be rushed with a quick ending so that the Developers can get on with Cognition, i mean the Whole Site is ready for it.  :-\
The story is already done, and I am confident that Ep5 will be given the treatment it deserves. TSL is Cez's baby, after all. :) Also, only a small subset of the team is working on Cognition.
Title: Re: Episode 4: Feedback and Thoughts
Post by: Rosella on February 01, 2012, 11:26:30 AM
Right, I'm sure they're excited to work on something new, but I have no doubt that they love TSL and want to give it the send-off it deserves.

Not to mention, from a business standpoint, there's no point in annoying your fans right before you ask them for money. :P
Title: Re: Episode 4: Feedback and Thoughts
Post by: waltzdancing on February 05, 2012, 09:36:23 AM
We are working on Episode 5, as I had a meeting almost every night this week. I will say that production is slow but it is moving forward. :D Episode 5 will come out, and don't worry, PR has ALOT of stuff planned to keep you all entertained while you wait.  :D
Title: Re: Episode 4: Feedback and Thoughts
Post by: fluxmaster on February 14, 2012, 07:40:12 PM
One more complaint about the Pandora's box puzzle.  At the start of the puzzle, there is a message that states that save points would be established.  Points as in plural.  So I just played three-quarters through the Pandora's box puzzle, completing nine zodiac signs, and had to leave for work.  Since I couldn't save, I simply quit, figuring that a save point had been established.  But when I went back the next day to resume the puzzle, no save point had been established.  Tech support told me that there is only ones save point, at the end of the puzzle, but was kind enough to send me a saved game so that I wouldn't have to replay the whole thing.

In the tower sequence, I believe there was a save point estabished at one-third and two-thirds the way through, not simply at the end.  I think you should have established save points after every three zodiac signs completed, or else the message should have said that a save point would be established after completing of the puzzle.

After having played three-quarters the way through on easy mode, the Pandora's box puzzle isn't really that hard.  I may play the whole thing thorugh if I have the time.  but I want to work on the fight next.
Title: Re: Episode 4: Feedback and Thoughts
Post by: Neonivek on August 04, 2012, 02:09:47 AM
I actually am interested in how the twists go

since well

If you pay attention there is no reason that the Silver cloaks shouldn't still be around. As the story of Pandora's box confirms that they won with members to spare.

So I wonder what actually happened to them.

Also the PLOT HOLE part is that some of the ingrediants required for the cure are also the parts that are used up to make your Silver cloak medalion. Meaning that they weren't ever ingrediants.

Actually how the magic scroll works is a mystery when I think about it.

I played the games back to back 1-4 so I don't really seperate them in my head. I sort of am keeping them as one big whole.
Title: Re: Episode 4: Feedback and Thoughts
Post by: KatieHal on August 04, 2012, 09:16:13 AM
Hi Neonivek and welcome to the boards :)

And in response to your first point, there's still one episode left and a decent amount of that story you don't yet know. :)

And for the second..

This I think may not be as clearly explained in Episode 5, I forget how much we go into at the moment, but the items used in the fight were more 'borrowed' temporarily for that purpose. They weren't permanently changed into the medallion.
Title: Re: Episode 4: Feedback and Thoughts
Post by: Rockabore on September 11, 2012, 08:41:51 PM
I thought the 4th Game was a lot of fun and I know I enjoyed playing it the whole time, at least most of the time.

As always the voice acting and music were topnotch. I felt the cutscenes told the story well and the way the story played out here made me want to see more. The story and the characters are always the best parts of The Silver Lining for me. For both of those aspects along, I'd say I was won over. I'm still very disappointed that Valanice and the twins are stuck doing very little for a majority of time in the present, but I do love seeing secondary characters we all know and love return and play a part in the story. I had been anticipating Beauty and the Beast coming back throughout the first 3 episodes and it was one of my favorite parts of part 4; as well as the short scene with Pan (loved the homage to KQ4's tunes). I've always felt we really could use more characters from KQ4 and KQ7 since it was Rosella and Edgar's wedding that was started things off, their guest list should at least include Genesta and King Otar if they really had to have the wedding in the Green Isles where they know no one! Sorry, I digress... It's always nice seeing cameos, I love them and I would love more of them. I also liked the new additions of the Muses, that addition felt very much like the kinds of quirky takes on mythological characters I expect to see in a King's Quest game. Also while on the topic, I think Edgar should get more to do, he's really understated here and I feel bad for him to not get to help.

The fight toward the end with Graham and Shadrack was well made and I was glad that the combat system didn't feel TOO out of place in a modern King's Quest game. It was still kinda out of place in a way since it wasn't a puzzle that forced you to use your wits, more of a the trial and error game. Besides that, we all kinda know by now Graham won't be defeating Shadrack at this point, so it felt more like a chore than a milestone to me.

I, like a lot of others, was a little annoyed by the Pandora puzzle box. I think I would have liked it more if it weren't so hard to click on the symbols when they fade. It was incredibly frustrating to keep hearing the narrator say the same phrase, I'd have preferred if her audio was absent all together for that part. Plus it took a lot longer than a puzzle like that had any right to because of having to wait for the spinning symbols. I'm not sure how it could have been done better because if it wasn't spinning it would probably have been significantly simpler and thus less challenging. Either way, I'm kind of dreading playing it again when I play the game with my younger cousins.

One thing I can't help but complain about is the fact that we're spending SO MUCH time in the Green Isles. KQ6 is my favorite game in the KQ series, King's Quest 6 is undeniably the most well made game in the series, and to top it all off it was first adventure game I was a little kid, so needless to say seeing the Green Isles was nostalgic for me... BUT I feel like there's so much more to be explored and when we spent FOUR whole chapters doing stuff on the same few islands over and over, I felt SO sick of the place and was dying for new scenery! There really is so much to explore in the King's Quest Universe besides The Green Isles. I'm glad the next part looks like it will take place in Daventry so we can finally see some different scenery. It makes me cross my fingers that we may get to see some other lands like Llewdor and especially Tamir, both would be good places to play as the Twins (if we'll get to play as them) since it's where both started out adventuring.

Speaking of playing as others, as much as I love playing as Graham, I will say I was always under the impression that we'd get to play as each member of the Graham Family for a good amount of time each. It kind of gets dull having all but Graham in coma or delirious for the majority of the episodes. It would have been alright if this chapter were early on but it's the 4th episode. I really just want to let Graham have a little rest (he needs one) and play as someone else for a while. It makes me a little sad that by the end of part 5 it seems somewhat inevitable that we won't be able to play as the others, or if we do it will only be in a brief sequence like the Pandora Puzzle part with Valanice.
Title: Re: Episode 4: Feedback and Thoughts
Post by: KatieHal on September 11, 2012, 08:58:32 PM
Thanks for the feedback Rockabore! Well, the good news, the next episode will have all new scenes far away from the Green Isles. The scenes will have some familiar elements to them...but they are entirely new. :)

As well, we've announced that Valanice will be playable in Episode 5, and another unnamed character will also be playable....

For playing with younger cousins, you might want to try the Pandora's Box section on Easy instead of Normal. It's not *quite* as hard, but still challenging. :)
Title: Re: Episode 4: Feedback and Thoughts
Post by: snabbott on September 12, 2012, 07:32:45 AM
another unnamed character will also be playable...
:suffer:
Title: Re: Episode 4: Feedback and Thoughts
Post by: Rockabore on September 17, 2012, 04:15:50 PM
Thanks for the feedback Rockabore! Well, the good news, the next episode will have all new scenes far away from the Green Isles. The scenes will have some familiar elements to them...but they are entirely new. :)

As well, we've announced that Valanice will be playable in Episode 5, and another unnamed character will also be playable....

For playing with younger cousins, you might want to try the Pandora's Box section on Easy instead of Normal. It's not *quite* as hard, but still challenging. :)
That sounds exciting! I can't wait to see the new lands.

Awesome! I always thought Valanice could use more of a chance to be a playable heroine. I liked that we got to play as her in King's Quest 7 but even there it seemed like of the whole Graham Family she was the one with the least adventuring cred, the rest of the family had already been playable in more serious games and she was only given her moment to shine in a game that has her most iconic action as crying at a comb. But with The Silver Lining I like that Valanice is portrayed as having more to her than just a standard Queen, I'm really stoked to play as her!
Title: Re: Episode 4: Feedback and Thoughts
Post by: Neonivek on October 28, 2012, 12:18:39 AM
Quote
it seemed like of the whole Graham Family she was the one with the least adventuring cred

Honestly that is kinda how I'd prefer it because... well... that is exactly how she should be.

She isn't an adventurer, nor does she has an adventurer's spirit. She doesn't like to get her hands dirty, she doesn't like to do any hard work, cannot stand anything crude, and she is the least witty or intelligent (Or rather not the smartest). By all means you could even consider her the worst of the entire family at being a Kings Quest Protagonist.

What she has over everyone else though is heart. She like all the others is willing to go out of her way to save her loved ones, as well she is the one most capable of showing sympathy to those she meets. She is brave because she needs to be but at the same time she is the most sensative. It is why SHE is the hero of Kings Quest 7 and not Rosella.

While I know she is sensative I also know she is just as strong as all the other characters, but more then that you get the idea that she is the only one who has to struggle through her shortcommings and all the better for it. It makes it feel all the better for when you do see her succeed at something. Only Valenece could charm a bird into trusting her, or show the depths of her sorrow enough to win everyone over (even if it gets a bit... manipulative). She is also the character who most felt like she honestly felt sorrow for anyone who wasn't herself instead of just raw altruism (or rather. She felt like she wanted to help people out of genuinly feeling for them. As opposed to "This is wrong, I'll help you!")

Quote
the rest of the family had already been playable in more serious games and she was only given her moment to shine in a game that has her most iconic action as crying at a comb

Uhhh are you kidding? She was the hero of KQ7!

Also yeah her most iconic action was crying but she is the only character in Kings Quest to show genuin emotion (it gets a bit weird later) and makes you understand the impact this had on her. The sheer number of things Valanece did (including getting the longest chapter in the game) compared to Rosella is staggering. You could have removed Rosella from KQ7 and changed almost nothing.

There is a reason why Valenece manages to be my favorite character over Alexander inspite Alexander essentially being my perfect Adventure game protagonist (Serious, studiuous, kind, and soft spoken? perfect!). Mind you they do flip flop in my mind.

I am actually more worried they may do too much with her and turn her into a "Butt kicking queen" when really that isn't her role. She isn't the "Princess who saves the prince", that is Rosella, she is the steriotypical princess except grown up and become a mother (Plus a LOT more intelligent and studious then most).

Ultimately I guess what I mean is. Valanece is at her best when she feels like she is rising to the challenge and becoming more then what she is, while at the same time reminding us why she was so great in the first place. She isn't a character I feel needs to transform but rather one whos better qualities is pushed to the front in times of crisis.
Title: Re: Episode 4: Feedback and Thoughts
Post by: GrahamRocks! on October 28, 2012, 07:33:17 PM
I liked KQ7 a bunch, and I never thought of it that way! :)
Title: Re: Episode 4: Feedback and Thoughts
Post by: charliebirds on December 18, 2012, 12:26:36 PM
Love the game because i have played all the kings quests, but i haven't been able to finish because of the pandora's box, they really should have made it so you could save your game during the symbol thing, i get so frustrated and then give up, i'm sure one day i will get it maybe by 2014 LOL, hope they do more, but this time being able to save your game at all points.
Title: Re: Episode 4: Feedback and Thoughts
Post by: minimac14 on February 14, 2013, 11:12:59 PM
So I'm very new to this website, and as I see these episodes have been out for awhile. I have just finished all 4 episodes because as a child I LOVED KQ6. I'm not a huge "gamer", however came across KQ6 and remembered it and decided to see if there were more.

Personally, I was so excited playing these episode and thought they were very well made in comparison to KQ6. The only things I didn't quite enjoy were, 1. the final "boss scene", as it has been referred to, since I enjoy KQ due to the logic and puzzles, not so much battles; 2. Some puzzles didn't give you actual clues on how to solve them so I found myself HAVING to look at clues on this site. I like it when clues are given from cut scenes or conversations or can be put together my logically thinking (like most were in the games).

For example, *spoiler alert* (don't know how to hide it)
How did people know that the shears and flower/shell had to be enchanted before using (without killing Rosella). And then once you knew (say the point was to try it out by trial and error) how did people know Fire and Earth was for the Shears and Water and Air were for the flower?

Those were just some examples where I found I had to cheat to know my next step instead of logic or even trial and error would have been tedious.

Either way, I am very late in a response, but really loved KQ6 and once I discovered and played TSL also THOROUGHLY enjoyed and have to say if you made more King's Quest based games I would for sure continue playing them as this series is one I would never stop playing!

P.S - I actually enjoyed the Pandora's Box :) and I'm not an avid game player. Found it difficult in the right ways, and you couldn't die so I didn't find it frustrating just had to have patience. Like those puzzles for end games.
Title: Re: Episode 4: Feedback and Thoughts
Post by: KatieHal on February 15, 2013, 08:12:00 AM
Hello minimac, and welcome to the forums! So glad you found us and TSL, and thank you for the feedback!

The shears & shell: If you read the books in the book shop about Persephone, Nightshade, and Samson, they mention items being enchanted with certain powers (air & water, fire & earth, respectively). The horoscopes outside the Four Winds office then tell you which zodiac signs fall into which elements.
Title: Re: Episode 4: Feedback and Thoughts
Post by: Neonivek on February 16, 2013, 08:12:11 AM
Quote
How did people know that the shears and flower/shell had to be enchanted before using (without killing Rosella). And then once you knew (say the point was to try it out by trial and error) how did people know Fire and Earth was for the Shears and Water and Air were for the flower?

Ohh goodness a LOT of busy work. Honestly for the longest time I thought the elements the book was refering to was the "inherant element within these objects" but it wasn't.

You do it by reading EVERY shelf in that library.

Then I had to go to the newspaper and write down EVERY SINGLE star sign and element that went along to it, as well as what it looks like.

THEN I had to get the idea to enchant them using the Druid's hut that can enchant now for no real reason.

It is a point and click... absolutely doing everything is what you do.

Heck the puzzle I legitimately hated the most was the Salt puzzle. "Hmm I wonder what of the MANY sources of heat the game wants me to use. What was that? The fire will hurt him? When did he indicate that? Wait the supernatural fire works because the game forgot how convection works? AND it glitched out my game and made it unwinnable?"

Also yeah I liked Pandora's box... I just wish I didn't chose hard.
Title: Re: Episode 4: Feedback and Thoughts
Post by: boopish on February 24, 2013, 09:11:38 PM
Thank you. I had no idea such an amazing group of people could come together with their creative genius to make such a wonderful game. I downloaded the series just a few days ago, and after finishing Episode 4, I needed to thank all the people who made this possible. I had an enjoyable time immersing myself in this beautifully created game, and I look forward to seeing what this talented group will create in the future!
Title: Re: Episode 4: Feedback and Thoughts
Post by: Oldbushie on February 24, 2013, 10:40:47 PM
I'm glad you enjoyed the game boopish! :D I'm looking forward to the conclusion too.
Title: Re: Episode 4: Feedback and Thoughts
Post by: KatieHal on February 25, 2013, 08:09:15 AM
Aww, thank you so much boopish! You rock! And welcome to the forums!
Title: Re: Episode 4: Feedback and Thoughts
Post by: boopish on February 26, 2013, 09:39:54 PM
Yes, I am looking forward to the conclusion, but also to what other games are created too! With such a talented group, there are no limits as to what they could create. :) I'm not much on blood and guts in games, and as such have been replaying a lot of older games, so it was sure a pleasant surprise to stumble across this!
Title: Re: Episode 4: Feedback and Thoughts
Post by: KatieHal on February 27, 2013, 06:21:23 AM
Thank you! We like to think so too ;)

Admittedly Cognition is a bloodier game than TSL, though its limited on that and the violence/blood is very stylized (fitting the comic book style, rather than being more realistic).
Title: Re: Episode 4: Feedback and Thoughts
Post by: snabbott on February 27, 2013, 07:28:45 AM
At least one reviewer commented positively about a lot of the violence being left to the imagination rather than being shown explicitly. I agree. :)
Title: Re: Episode 4: Feedback and Thoughts
Post by: Neonivek on February 27, 2013, 11:22:01 AM
Besides I cannot think of one death in Kings Quest that was outright brutal.

The two most brutal deaths were having your lifeforce drained in 6 (causing your character to rot to death on the spot) and being pulled under by the Boneyard in 7.

And yet those are the exceptions mostly.
Title: Re: Episode 4: Feedback and Thoughts
Post by: boopish on February 28, 2013, 06:06:31 PM
I can't think of any outright brutal deaths either. Then again, drowning and falling happen so frequently I think they overshadow a lot of the other ways I've died. Even with the other ways, you usually just end up in a flat heap on the ground. I have replayed KQIV recently, and I think having the witches throw you in the cauldron was about the most graphic. I don't remember having my life force drained, so I think it's time to play VI again too!
Title: Re: Episode 4: Feedback and Thoughts
Post by: Boogeyman on March 04, 2013, 11:47:43 PM
I don't recall anything like that either, unless he is referring to touching a zuvembie, or being grabbed by Samhain. Doesn't seem like those though, and I recently reviewed all the deaths in YouTube.


What he mentioned, however, DOES occur in VII.


(http://i4.photobucket.com/albums/y128/MithosYggdrasil/Kings%20Quest/View911-0_zps63b45368.gif)
"Drinking that water didn't help me for long, did it? This desert is treacherous!"
Title: Re: Episode 4: Feedback and Thoughts
Post by: Neonivek on March 05, 2013, 02:05:48 AM
Maybe I am projecting but it happens when you touch anything undead.
Title: Re: Episode 4: Feedback and Thoughts
Post by: Boogeyman on March 05, 2013, 04:34:05 PM
No, Alexander simply dissolves when he touches a zuvembie

(http://i4.photobucket.com/albums/y128/MithosYggdrasil/Kings%20Quest/View606-0_zps0c1bddaf.gif)
Alexander's mother always told him to avoid bad ghouls!
Title: Re: Episode 4: Feedback and Thoughts
Post by: Neonivek on March 05, 2013, 04:55:09 PM
You forgot his face screen AFTER that.
Title: Re: Episode 4: Feedback and Thoughts
Post by: Icerose on November 27, 2013, 11:42:10 AM
 Ok i will give a feedback to each episode lets begin with episode 1:

Nice Intro really nice made, but it was over to quick with, no riddles avaible, the first thing i noticed in the game great voice acting,the graphics are nice made,for myself you did a lovely job with the isle of wonder and Cassimas castle those places look great but i missed to old barking tree at the wonder of the island and the swamp.and rotten tomatoes brother.
Why did you didnt you make the swamp?
Episode 1 was a nice beginning but somehow its heartbreaking to see finally  Rosella gets her final moment with Edgar and it was destroyed i know thats part of the story but somehow it was bitter to see and it started very quick with episode 1. Wedding ruined, Childen are caught in nightmares.


Episode 2 i liked it more better why?
Finally the the worlds is going to end atmosphere was gone, you could finally explore the markets you did a nice job with the market its so lively also i liked it to see the black widow again and finally there were more riddles to solve.
But why didnt we have a chance to talk to the bookworm?you only saw him sitting in the corner but you could not even talk to him i missed that!
The scene from Valanice dont want to spoiler that much it was a little bit disturbing and made you worrie even more.


Episode 3 you finally could visit the isle of the beast? it Episodes 2-3 was pretty nice to play
I personally dont like it getting to be teased  and have to catch  a shell..the riddle was nice in some way but also a bit anoyinng. Personally i dont fit the voice of the female guard doesnt fit it sounded to high and to harsh.
it would also nice if you could offer more possibilities to read more books in Alis Shop, and more interactions with Jollo would be nice you only see him 2 times in the episodes and that about it?
Quite to short i think the arm scene was fun, but more dialogues with Jollo would have been nice.
It was nice you finally had more things to do on the isle of the mist, the Tree from the druid look great, but somehow it would have been nice if you could the dialogues was to short with Dyrad.
The riddles were challenging but not to hard, and the fighting scene was also possible to master and not to hard, you could enjoy the riding and the fighting scenes i liked that much.
i must say for now i liked Episodes 3 the most it gave you the most chances to solves  riddle and i liked that.
To the scene with Beauty/Beast i dont know why you did this but i hope the player will have some chance to help theme.


Episode 4
Finally you got a chance to visit the city of the sacred isle mountain, and as expected some  peoples in the city act arrogant but thats how i imagined theme so it fits and you created their characters very well.
Episode 4 had a great atmosphere, you can visit the isle of the beast and its garden and the city of the winged ones also the scene were you get the fruit was niclely put. but Episode 4 was to quick over more riddles would have been nice,i liked the fighting scene but not this puzzle riddle in fix all symbols for Pandoras box.
i enjoyed all episodes and its fun to play them but the symbol riddle..sry i dont like it :( its a bit to hard i think, if easy that is you have to get 3 correct symbols ok..i can agree with that that it would not have been to challenging for the players but the normal mode..
When you really want to see the ending of episode and you have to struggle with that kind of riddle..it takes you a lot of patience cauce most of the players would have flip the tables on this riddle and no joking, i read this comment on  Youtoube to a lets play the silver linings, so i say the last riddle is on normal mode quite challenging and difficult to solve.

For all the Episodes i would say Nice Job, but the characters had to suffer a lot.
Some thoughts to the narrator i love how she says:its beyond his reach! some sayings were fun of her but some of them a litle bit to sarcastic?
i liked here voice but i dont liked scentences like: what you do with it, tic tac toc are you done doing crazy things?all the kings quest games gave you the option to interact with all items in the game, personally i dont like that coming from her,its fun and nice when things are good described and you can look at them, touch them, or trying to take it, and interact with all you items in your inventory, and with all items you can see.
For now thats it from me to the silver line Episodes  i am looking forward too the next episode to come out and i hope you will not stop making more episodes please. :)


Title: Re: Episode 4: Feedback and Thoughts
Post by: Neonivek on January 07, 2014, 01:52:54 PM
Does anyone think the part where King Graham plays a ton of different instruments at once is a joke about the sheer number of instruments he, and his family, have played throughout the series?

When I really think about it the Daventry family are quite skilled. Rosella knows at least two instruments and is skilled in archery. Alexander is a accomplished magician and poet and is incredibly skilled with the sword and can play the flute and marimba.

Not that this is too unusual for someone of their station.
Title: Re: Episode 4: Feedback and Thoughts
Post by: brlinton on November 10, 2016, 06:45:50 PM
Great now I have that fugue-esque tune from KQ4 playing in my head. Mark Seibert hadn't a clue what song that is.... Maybe I'll start a new thread to see if someone knows.