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The Royal Archives => General => The Silver Age => Adventure Gaming => Topic started by: Yonkey on August 15, 2006, 09:01:29 AM

Title: Dead ends
Post by: Yonkey on August 15, 2006, 09:01:29 AM
Ahh ok $79 was still a bit overpriced in those days.  I think the going rate was $49-59 CDN (and that was before GST was invented). ::)

Oh, and Cedric's annoyance and the dead-ends were still present in the disk-based version. ;P 

"Watch out Graham!  It's POISIONOUS game design!" ;)

Title: Dead ends
Post by: ThunderChild on August 15, 2006, 09:08:34 AM
Ahh ok $79 was still a bit overpriced in those days.  I think the going rate was $49-59 CDN (and that was before GST was invented). ::)
It was a different time then and I don't know if the 2 is an acurate number. Over the past 10 years the European and the American market leveled each other out on the major points, so it doesn't really matter now ...

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Oh, and Cedric's annoyance and the dead-ends were still present in the disk-based version. ;P 

"Watch out Graham!  It's POISIONOUS game design!" ;)
One of the benefits of the floppy version (applies also on the CD version), just *click* and it's all over ...  ;D ;)


Though, shooting the bird or cast a spell over/on it would've been nice (or is that an unKing's Quest thing for me to say ??) . . .  ;D ;D
Title: Dead ends
Post by: Yonkey on August 15, 2006, 09:11:25 AM
One of the benefits of the floppy version (applies also on the CD version), just *click* and it's all over ...  ;D ;)
You mean Restore/Restart? ;P  I still find that poor game design. XD
Title: Dead ends
Post by: ThunderChild on August 15, 2006, 09:19:29 AM
You mean Restore/Restart? ;P  I still find that poor game design. XD
Well, what else did you expect ?? A 6 MB large outro in which the royal family was tickled to death by Mordack ??  ;D :P :pleased:
Title: Dead Ends in the KQ Games
Post by: Yonkey on August 15, 2006, 10:02:43 AM
Hahaha, well I was referring more to the incredible amount of dead-ends and illogical puzzles. 8)

To further illustrate this:

Kitty crossing your path?  Throw a boot at it, of course! ::)
Trapped in a cave with thousands of coins?  Better pick up the right one, or you're screwed. ::)
Did the tree just give me a string instrument?  Graham, you never told me you were a harp connoisseur!  ::)
How dare you venture into a forest without an amulet & brass bottle?  Who do you think you are? Frodo?! ::)
Travelling to the Alps?  Don't leave home without your sled/pie/meat/hammer! :)  Hmm, maybe that should be AMEX's new slogan. ::)
Aww, hungry Graham?  WHAT? Did I say you could eat my pie?! ::)
Feed a baby bird?  I know Graham "roc"ks, but that's just ridiculous. ::)
What a pwetty crystal! :)  Smash it?  What, I'm Lex Luther now too? ::)
Who needs a Dink, I can finish this game without that beast!  Damnit Graham, of all the days to forget to bobbypin your hair! ::)
Spellbooks?  Oh, sorry, I didn't realize Graham also moonlights as Harry Potter. ::)
Cassima giving you the cold shoulder? Maybe you should have thought twice about forgetting her locket. ::)
Escaped the grips of the blue monster?  Good luck ending the game without the cheese, especially when Cassima's dead to you. ::)

And I'm sure there are more dead-ends as well.  For that reason, I would not price KQ5 that high, I would rather fire the QA team and drop the price. :P
Title: Dead Ends in the KQ Games
Post by: Baggins on August 15, 2006, 10:27:17 AM
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Kitty crossing your path?  Throw a boot at it, of course!


The kitty does not cross your path, its chasing a rat. The boot, or alternatively the stick is to scare the cat away(boot or stick will work against the dog as well).

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Trapped in a cave with thousands of coins?  Better pick up the right one, or you're screwed.


No its pick the flashy one right by the door all by itself. While ignoring the huge golden pile of bling. Its all rather obvious. Especially since if you try to go for the pile you die. What's worse is if you wait too long or go out before picking up the coin and bottle.

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Did the tree just give me a string instrument?  Graham, you never told me you were a harp connoisseur!
 

The harp is help you against "Harpies", get it? Oh ya it works against a cold-hearted queen as well. Music is doorway to the cold soul, :). I think ice queen bit is based on fairy tale I once hard as well.

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How dare you venture into a forest without an amulet & brass bottle?  Who do you think you are? Frodo?!


Well cedric did warn you not to go in there or you would be lost. Doesn't take long until you get turned into a toad to know that you can't go in there until you get more items. If you don't have the brass bottle, well you'll get killed by plants if you try to walk around the place. But the bottle is right next to the lone coin so its all rather obvious. Only people that forget to pick those items up are probably trying to find out what kind of crazy death scene occurs for the "dead-end".

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Travelling to the Alps?  Don't leave home without your sled/pie/meat/hammer!   Hmm, maybe that should be AMEX's new slogan.


Without the meat, well you starve to death. Without the sled you can't make it past an ice bridge which will kill you. Well without hte pie you can't kill the yeti so you die. If you don't have the hammer, well you don't get the crystal so you die once you get to mordack's island... Yep definitely dead ends.

On the other hand getting those items aren't terrible that difficult to find. The shoe is given to you... And the shoemaker says earlier if you took the time to talk to him, that he did say he needed some shoes to sell. The pie was said to be sold for 1 silver each. Well the silver is rather right in the open, and easy to spot. The meat is in an obvious position, that you will find once you are saved by the rat you saved earlier.

Plus the game warns you if you go intohte mountains without the meat, telling you you need to find something to eat... Sure that might mean you try to eat hte pie, which leads to a dead end heh heh. If you didn't have the pie well, you die if you try to go too far into the mountains.

You can also return to Serenia proper if you need to, once you use the sled however there is no return.

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Aww, hungry Graham?  WHAT? Did I say you could eat my pie?!"

yep if you eat the pie instead of the meat you are screwed.

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Feed a baby bird?  I know Graham rocks, but that's just ridiculous.



Feed a baby bird? What are you talking about? Do you mean the "Roc"? The roc was trying to eat him. ...or do you mean the Eagle? The eagle asks him for food. Its rather obvious. He only accepts the half a leg of meat.


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What a pwetty crystal!   Smash it?  What, I'm Lex Luther now too?


He uses the hammer to take a shard. If you look at the shard he says something about how he might need it for later.

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Who needs a Dink, I can finish this game without that beast!  Damnit Graham, of all the days to forget to bobbypin your hair!"

If you don't find dink you don't get the key(so you are trapped in the maze until you find dink again). If you get hte bobbypin the game tells you it looks like a key. If you never got the tamborine will you never would have gotten out of main parts of serenia anyways.

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Spellbooks?  Oh, sorry, I didn't realize Graham also moonlights as Harry Potter.


Iconomancy magic without words, and as it says he didn't even need to know magic to cast it, it just embedded itself into his mind. The game makes it rather obvious.

I literally had no problems with KQ5, everything seemed mostly logical to me... Clues were in what people said, or what I knew about fairy tales, or the varous warnings the game gives you, and what it tells you blatently.

Granted finding the boot wasn't that easy... I just randomly came accross it.
Title: Dead Ends in the KQ Games
Post by: Yonkey on August 15, 2006, 01:42:33 PM
Regarding all the spoilers I posted, it wasn't that they were illogical.  The point is that if you don't perform those actions, the game allows you to continue until you reach a "deadlocked" state where you cannot proceed any further. :P

Obviously none of us want our programs to become deadlocked, and dead-ends are like the deadlocks of adventure games. :P  They could all have been easily fixed if KQV had better game design.  But since the game design was poor, it should have been reflective in the price as well. 8)
Title: Dead Ends in the KQ Games
Post by: oberonqa on August 15, 2006, 02:00:34 PM
Bleh.... KQ5 was the first game I needed a hint book for thanks to all those deadends.

In fact, KQ5 is the game that drove my dad away from the series.  He was the one who got me into computer games (my earliest and fondest memories were of watching him play computer games).  Neither of us needed hintbooks for any game up until KQ5.  He ended up walking away from the series and I broke down and used my allowance money to get a hintbook.

KQ6 was much better from a design point of view... though it also had it's fair share of deadlocks.  The one I most vividly remember was:

Not getting the Hole-in-the-Wall from the Isle of Wonders and getting stuck in the Catacombs on the Isle of the Winged Ones due to not being able to spy on the Minotaur activating the latch behind the tapestry.

God I spent days wandering around that area wondering what I was missing.  In the end, I had to restart the game.  There were other similiar deadlocks... but that one sticks out in my mind.
Title: Dead Ends in the KQ Games
Post by: Baggins on August 15, 2006, 02:02:40 PM
That was actually the standard game design of the time. Apparently fairly popular too, people liked death scenes, and intentional dead ends & red hearings that lead to unique death scenes, and unaturally lengthened what were essentially short games.

However Lucasarts poked fun at Sierra's deathscenes and intentional dead ends in Monkey Island. In there adventure games there was actually no death scenes, or few death scenes.

The exception being in Indiana Jones games.

Basically just consider it a change of tastes in games from then to now.

It was the dead-ends and special death scenes for dead ends, that spawned the, "Save early save often make several saves" comment in the manuals for the game. Anyone that just kept on using the same save file over and over were only asking to screw themselves over.

Even the earliest King's Quest games had dead-ends.

For example it was possible to go to Land of the Leprichauns for example without having any items needed to get past the rat, the leprichauns, or even the exit out of the cave.

An example for KQ2 is that it was possible to get to last area without the dagger, or the meat so no way of defeating the Lion.

An example for KQ3 was it was possible to leave Llewdor without every possible spell IIRC. So then you couldn't beat the game.

In KQ4, it was possible to get a bad ending by not getting the "fruit", plus among some other dead-ends, if you missed certain items.

In KQ6 if you didn't have the key you couldn't get the paper needed to convince Saladin of the Vizier's treachery. So he would kill you, instead of letting you into the wedding. If you got into catacombs without having the "hole-in-the-wall" you couldn't get out the catacombs. If you didn't get the brick you couldn't get past the catacomb's crushing trap. If you didn't have the tinder box you couldn't survive the dark room.

In KQ7 if you didn't have the smelling flower you couldn't wake up King Otar, and Malicia would kill you.

I think MoE was the only game that didn't have any "dead-ends" as it literally wouldn't let you move on from areas until you had all the items you needed. It wouldn't  let you into the final zone unless you had all the items needed for those levels.

Infocom text adventure games were also quite similar in that respect, that they intentionally placed dead-ends and red herrings into the games to intentionally make them more difficult, and lengthen the game.

I suppose you could compare older adventure games to make choice books and their dead ends.
Title: Dead Ends in the KQ Games
Post by: Yonkey on August 15, 2006, 08:19:32 PM
Well, personally I despise dead-ends.  I didn't find them cute back then, nor do I find them fun now. :P  I already explained how I find them equivalent to a deadlocked program. 8)

The sad thing is, they are so easy to prevent just by better game design.  All you have to do is add Narrator dialogue to prevent you from permanently leaving an area without a required item.  It's so simple that it really makes you wonder why they never designed games like this in the past.  ::)

I know Baggins said that death messages were all the rave back then, but dead-ends are different from death messages.  At least when you die, you know why.  Dead-ends make you aimlessly travel around hoping to find out what you did wrong.  Unfortunately, without reading a hintbook or walkthrough, you have no idea that you've reached a game state where you cannot advance any further. :no:
Title: Dead Ends in the KQ Games
Post by: Baggins on August 15, 2006, 08:24:38 PM
Actually the reason why there was intentional dead-ends was simply to forcably extend play time in games, in games that were much shorter than todays games. It was actually an intentional design choice, not merely done by mistake.

Actually all dead-ends in KQ5 lead to special death scenes, sometimes unique ones that you could only see if you forgot something. These special dead-ends usually had some kind of clue as to what you missed, through the use of some really bad pun.

All dead-ends in previous games lead to deaths, or bad endings.

These kind of dead-ends leading to deaths was just a way to extend what amounted to a short game to make gameplay longer, and force replay.

Again this is why the manuals warned to save early, save often, make several saves and name them different names to show when they take place.

Similarly side-scrolling action games at the time tended to be incredibly hard compared to todays games for the same reason. They were made difficult to make people have to play the games over and over until they got it right.It made a game that could be beat in an hour last 24 hours or more, simply due to continues to retry a level, or restart the games.

Some Old Schoolers bemoan modern games for being "too easy". While most New-Schoolers do not necessarily enjoy the older games because they were so hard.
Title: Dead Ends in the KQ Games
Post by: dew7 on August 15, 2006, 08:53:46 PM
I still usually have at least 20 saves in a game -- just in case I end up on a part of the game without a particular item and so I don't have to start all the way from the beginning if this is the case.

 :P
Title: Dead Ends in the KQ Games
Post by: Baggins on August 15, 2006, 09:48:17 PM
It was actually pretty bad in KQ7, where you could unintentionally save yourself into a problem and not even know it (and then have to restart chapters over again), as there was only one save file, and the game auto-saved when you quite the game.

This is why in version 2.0 they added the ability to save any time and have multiple saves.

In that game the dead-ends were unintentional and were caused by a poor save game system. It was actually one of the first games to remove the "save early, save often" advice, since there was no way to save as often as you wanted to.
Title: Dead Ends in the KQ Games
Post by: Yonkey on August 15, 2006, 10:54:49 PM
All dead-ends in previous games lead to deaths, or bad endings.
I'm not entirely sure that's true.  If they lead to deaths or just bad endings, people wouldn't refer to them as "dead-ends" they would just call them deaths.  Anyway, my mind is a bit too fried to think right now, but someone else is free to give examples. :)
Title: Dead Ends in the KQ Games
Post by: oberonqa on August 15, 2006, 11:03:49 PM
Oh I don't know.... I'd call going into The Catacombs in KQ6 without the Hole-in-the-Wall to be a definite dead-end.  You don't get any special death scenes... you don't get any interesting puns...  all you get is the joy of wandering around the Catacombs wondering what the heck your supposed to be doing and not given any clue as to what you were supposed to do.

If that's not a dead-end, I don't know what is.

I kid you not... I spent DAYS wandering around trying to figure out what to do.  In fact I think I still have a hand-drawn map somewhere of the entire area... complete with notes on what rooms had false floors in them.

And let's see... what else can I think of...

Ah yes.

Being swallowed up by the Whale in KQ4 without having the peacock feather.  Good luck getting out of that situation without the peacock feather.  **lol**

In KQ3... good luck finishing the game if you didn't prepare the Brew a Storm spell...

In KQ2, not having the sword or the meat by the time you got to the Quartz Tower was definitely a bad thing.  Kinda hard to save Valanice without some way to deal with the guard.

So ya... definitely some dead-ends.
Title: Dead Ends in the KQ Games
Post by: Baggins on August 15, 2006, 11:16:01 PM
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Oh I don't know.... I'd call going into The Catacombs in KQ6 without the Hole-in-the-Wall to be a definite dead-end.  You don't get any special death scenes... you don't get any interesting puns...  all you get is the joy of wandering around the Catacombs wondering what the heck your supposed to be doing and not given any clue as to what you were supposed to do.

I wondered around for a while, and then went into a room and minotaur showed up and skewered me. That was the death scene I remember.

I don't remember it occuring if you had all the other items you needed for the dungeon.

BTW if you had the hole in the wall, but forgot to bring the red scarf, good luck trying to get past the Minotaur.

That was another death dead-end.

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Being swallowed up by the Whale in KQ4 without having the peacock feather.  Good luck getting out of that situation without the peacock feather.  **lol**

After about 30 minutes she dies from the fumes of the whales digestive juices.

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In KQ3... good luck finishing the game if you didn't prepare the Brew a Storm spell...

The dragon will instantly kill you the moment your invisiblity wears out. Yep leads to another death scene.

On the other hand the manual tells you exactly the spells you need to make... if someone doesn't bother to make those spells, well I suppose its their own stupidity. But ya they still lead to dead ends.

Infact some people complained about that the game because nearly all the answers to all the puzzles were "spelled"(forgive the pun) out for the player. It didn't allow people to try to figure out things for themselves.

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In KQ2, not having the sword or the meat by the time you got to the Quartz Tower was definitely a bad thing.  Kinda hard to save Valanice without some way to deal with the guard.

Which leads to the lion kiling you if you try to get past. So yet another death scene.

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So ya... definitely some dead-ends.

Yep dead ends and certain death scenes are synonmous with each other.

Also dead-end is an obvious pun. By dead-end sierra generally meant it lead to you becoming "Dead".
Title: Dead Ends in the KQ Games
Post by: oberonqa on August 15, 2006, 11:29:49 PM
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I wondered around for a while, and then went into a room and minotaur showed up and skewered me. That was the death scene I remember.

I don't remember it occuring if you had all the other items you needed for the dungeon.

It does.  If you happen to go into the Tapestry Room without having spied on the Minotaur beforehand... he would still come into the room and skewer you.  Not a unique death scene.

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After about 30 minutes she dies from the fumes of the whales digestive juices.

Which is what happens even if you have the peacock feather.  Not a unique death scene.

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The dragon will instantly kill you the moment your invisiblity wears out. Yep leads to another death scene.

Which occurs even if you have the Brew a Storm spell prepared but don't use it.  Not a unique death scene.

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Which leads to the lion kiling you if you try to get past. So yet another death scene.

Which again... occurs even if you try to get past without using one of the items if you had them anyway.  Again... not a unique death scene.

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Yep dead ends and certain death scenes are synonmous with each other.

No your thinking of special death sequences that can happen (like going into the mountains in KQ5 without food and dying of starvation). 

What Neil and I are pointing out are dead-ends that are a direct result of the game allowing you to progress and reach a dead-end where you cannot proceed and you cannot backtrack. 

In the KQ5 example I just cited, your given ample warning about entering the mountains without food.  So if you go up there anyway, you will die of starvation.  That is a unique death that can only occur there.  However, if you bring food with you into the mountains and either don't bring a hammer with you or you pass the crystal without hitting it and obtaining a shard, you will become stuck in front of Mordack's lair.  You cannot backtrack to get the crystal shard and you cannot progress.  You do get a unique death as a result... but you cannot backtrack from that point to get the shard after viewing the death scene.

In the case of the KQ6 example... the game will happily allow you to enter the Catacombs not only without the Hole-in-the-Wall... but without the cement block.  And once your in... your in until you finish that section.  So if you are unfortunate enough to go in without having the necessary items... you will not progress and you cannot get out.  You get no special death scenes that aren't already there (case in point, if you have the cement block but don't use it during the appropriate trap sequence, you'll get the same death scene as you did if you didn't have the cement block).

These are flaws that indicate a bad design.  The designer either assumed the player would have the necessary items with them prior to encountering the puzzles... or the designer intentionally made those design decisions in an attempt to artificially inflate the gameplay time.

There's never a good reason for bad design and dead-ends are indicitive of bad design elements.
Title: Dead Ends in the KQ Games
Post by: Baggins on August 15, 2006, 11:37:26 PM
I didn't say they were all unique death scenes, I said "sometimes unique death scenes", but always lead to a death scene if you tried to progress on.

In anycase my point is, and Sierra coined the bad pun term, "dead-end" in their definition was intended to lead you to a death. As you couldn't progress past a certain point. They didn't want you to go back.

Another example is if you don't save Cedric. When Mordack tries to cast a spell at you with his wand after you recharge crispin's wand, he fries you. Otherwise Cedric is hit when he flies in to tell you something.

If you tried to go into Swarthy Hog without the hammer, or having befriended the rat, you get stuck in the basement, and it lead to another cutscene about the thiefs coming to rub you out later.

Another classic example of a classic sierra "dead"-end is the magic golden fish of the enchanted isles. They literally allow it to die, if you don't throw it back in during a certain period of time. In which case you get stuck on the shore until you try to jump in and "die".

The teams were notorious for enjoying to throw these in pretty much every classic sierra game not just King's Quest. They did it just so players would have to reload to earlier save games, or restart the game. which was the reason for the classic "Save, Load, Restart", and the manuals even referred to these "Dead"-ends thus the reason for the warning in the manuals to save early, save often, save at multiple times during the game.
Title: Dead Ends in the KQ Games
Post by: oberonqa on August 15, 2006, 11:48:34 PM
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In anycase my point is, and Sierra coined the bad pun term, "dead-end" in their definition was intended to lead you to a death. As you couldn't progress past a certain point. They didn't want you to go back.

Then they were artificially inflating the gameplay time and they acknowledged it.  It's as simple as that. 

There's little entertainment value in having to start over just to pick up an item needed to solve a single puzzle.  I didn't paticularly enjoy having to restart KQ6 because I didn't get the Hole-in-the-Wall.  It taught me a lesson... but I certainly didn't enjoy it.  Being able to backtrack is not a bad thing... especially when it comes to things that are required to complete the game.  The only instance where I would agree backtracking shouldn't be allowed is in optional quests/puzzles (like the shovel and buried treasure in KQ3... you don't need the shovel or the treasure to complete the game... it only increases your point tally and thus is optional).
Title: Dead ends
Post by: Baggins on August 15, 2006, 11:53:33 PM
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Then they were artificially inflating the gameplay time and they acknowledged it.  It's as simple as that. 


Yep, that's what I said. It was done mainly because the games would be very short if they didn't exist. They can be beaten within an hour or less if you know where everything is, and what to do.

Which is funny, since apparently most people really enjoyed those games at the time, and never complained about it.

Lucasarts deliberetly tried to avoid the concept of "Dead"-end to set themselves apart from other adventure games companies. They also made many games were you could not actually die.

As a side note there are die-hard old schoolers that complain about Lucasarts so called "dumbing-down" of the adventure game genre, as they saw it in their eyes by removal of dead-end situations.


On the other hand lucasarts games were often known for having really illogical puzzles, that made little sense unless you read some obscure clue in the game, in order to make their games more difficult.

These various ways of extending gameplay time were done in order to justify the costs of the games. Otherwise people wouldn't pay $30-$50 for a game that could be completed in a couple of hours at the most.
Title: Dead Ends in the KQ Games
Post by: ThunderChild on August 16, 2006, 04:17:12 AM
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Oh I don't know.... I'd call going into The Catacombs in KQ6 without the Hole-in-the-Wall to be a definite dead-end.  You don't get any special death scenes... you don't get any interesting puns...  all you get is the joy of wandering around the Catacombs wondering what the heck your supposed to be doing and not given any clue as to what you were supposed to do.

I wondered around for a while, and then went into a room and minotaur showed up and skewered me. That was the death scene I remember.

I don't remember it occuring if you had all the other items you needed for the dungeon.

BTW if you had the hole in the wall, but forgot to bring the red scarf, good luck trying to get past the Minotaur.

That was another death dead-end.

Third one for the catacombs: If you happene to forget to take some light with you, you would end up very unhappy dead ...  ;D ;D


Somehow I always expected that a King's Quest game had these 'dead ends' and I probably would've been dissapointed if they weren't included, it simply added to the level of difficulty the games had plus that the later games had more then one way to complete it ...

With all Sierra games there was at least one dead end included (as far that I was able to see/find) and that was something I was expecting to find. In adventures from other developers like Lucasarts's SCUMM titles (Monkey Island, Day of the Tentacle), it was impossible to get stuck on a dead end and that was something I would expect from them.

Basicly it's simply a matter of taste. I happen to like both ...
Title: Re: Dead Ends in the KQ Games
Post by: Yonkey on August 16, 2006, 08:50:21 AM
Here's a fun dead-end I just remembered (which is even present in AGDI's version).  In KQ2, you can give the Woodcutter your entire inventory before giving him the bowl. :P  No unique death messages there, you just get robbed.  Same thing applies when the dwarf robs you.  ::)

There's a dead-end in KQ6 where if you enter the catacombs without the brick, you have no way of preventing the roof from collapsing on you (the skull won't work).  And, getting the brick is pretty illogical because it's something you have to pick up by chance, and unlike the Tinderbox, you would have no idea that you'd need it before venturing into the Catacombs.

Also, you never commented on my quadruple KQ5 dead-end, where if you never pick up the locket, you can't befriend Cassima, and if you don't befriend Cassima, you can't get in and out of the prison, and if you don't go in and and out of the prison, you'll never get the cheese, and if you don't get the cheese, you won't finish the game. :P  Sure, you'll get fried by Mordack but would you have any idea why your wand is as useless as Cedric was? ;P

Deloria mentioned a dead-end in KQ7 (http://www.postudios.com/blog/forum/index.php?topic=3381.0) (which I thought didn't have any) that occurs if you don't talk to Dr. Cadaver as Valanice before the "Dr. is out" sign is hanging.  The bug was if you visit Dr. Cadaver before the fates tell you to go to sleep.  Valanice will not go to sleep when the fates ask, and due to KQ7's annoying auto-save feature, you can't even restore, meaning you have to replay the entire chapter. :o
Title: Re: Dead Ends in the KQ Games
Post by: Baggins on August 16, 2006, 09:03:50 AM
All games pre-KQ7 had intentional Dead-Ends in order to artificially extend gamplay, in order to justify the prices they asked for the games. Sierra and Infocom were rather notorius for their intentional dead ends, thinking up nearly hundreds of sadistic ways to drive their customers crazy.

The manuals even mentioned to expect the dead-ends and to save early and save often, and make several saves at important points in the game simply because they intentionally included dead ends(these warnings were not included in KQ7, since that game was intended to not have any dead-ends, due to the linear chapter system, and fact it only had a single save feature).

In one of the zork games for example you could kill people, but if you did, a NPC called the "Vigilante" would show up and steal all of your inventory. But you would be stuck in the game wandering around trying to find where he stashed the stuff(however the stuff was no where, this was Infocom's sadistic way of punishment).

In KQ1 you could have your treasure stolen by the dwarf. Which lead to an unwinnable situation and dead-end.


Apparently one of Infocom did a survey to find out which games people enjoyed the most and of those games which ones hadn't finished, and apparently people of the time enjoyed the games that had dead-ends the most, over their infocom games that were linear and short, and easy to complete. So old-schoolers were masochists  :suffer:. On the other hand I'm not sure I would have been spent $30-$60 to buy a game I could have beaten in 2-3 hours if it lead my hand the entire way. So I understand early companies justification for creating dead-ends.

KQ7, on the other hand had poor game design with the single save feature, and 2-3 unintentional dead ends. Somethign they fixed in later version of the game. Another dead-end in the game is if you somehow forgot to get the smelly flower, you couldn't awaken Otar. If you didn't awaken otar, well volcano blows up, or malicia gets you.
Title: Re: Dead Ends in the KQ Games
Post by: Yonkey on August 16, 2006, 09:12:53 AM
Yeah, the auto-save feature was the cause of quite discussion back then.  It was a nice idea, in the sense that you didn't have to worry about saving and restoring.  But, if you're gonna use a feature like that, you better make sure you have absolutely no dead-ends obviously.

I prefer having the save/restore feature because besides being able to revert to a non-inoperable state, it allows you to replay cool sequences over and over! ;D  KQ7 lacked this, and that was one of my major beefs with it.  The other being its extreme "Disney influence". :P
Title: Re: Dead Ends in the KQ Games
Post by: Baggins on August 16, 2006, 09:26:35 AM
That being said early games from infocom and sierra might have needed intentional dead-ends (both-ones that lead to you wandering around(ex. stolen treasures in KQ1, vigilante in zork2), or ones that lead you to death, both unique, or normal, if you still try to push on) to artifically extend gameplay and justify the cost of what would normally be a short games.

No one would have payed $30-$60 for a game that could be beaten in one to four hours. So most people appreciated dead ends at the time, since it increased the challenge, and extended their gametime.

Lucasarts newfangled no dead-end policy came later, and actually was lambasted by many old-schoolers for being too simplified.

People back then expected it, often complaining if intentional dead-ends didn't exist in the games. Accusing the games of being "dumbed-down", "easified".

However it is unforgiveable in today's more modern games where the game takes about a day or more complete. Where the games length is determined by the detail of its story and the actual size of the game, and total number of puzzles. People do not want to be forced to start over on a game that takes that long to complete...

Something that causes unwinnable situations in modern games is usually because something was overlooked by the game designers, not because of intentional reasons.
Title: Re: Dead Ends in the KQ Games
Post by: Yonkey on August 16, 2006, 09:38:39 AM
Hmm.. well you can't always co-relate filesize with difficulty.  Take our demo for example.  It has no dead-ends or deaths, and if you know what to do, you can finish it in 5 minutes or less! ;D  I'm not sure if it was intentional or not, but it makes it very easy for me to blackbox test each scene. :)

But to get back to what I'm saying, our demo is 76MB yet probably not more than an hour worth of gameplay for a complete newbie.  However, there is plenty of descriptive dialogue, artwork, audio and scripting to keep you entertained throughout the entire time.  I prefer using things like that to "extend gametime" and replayability, rather than using intentional dead-ends and illogical puzzles masked as "challenging".

The other thing I like is that I can easily add new features and functionality to this demo, without advancing plot or spoiling anything. :suffer:  Due to people's attraction to novelty, the easability of creating software updates/patches, and our use of non-obtrusive marketing, you can get people to enjoy games of any size, regardless of genre/content/storyline. 8)
Title: Re: Dead Ends in the KQ Games
Post by: Baggins on August 16, 2006, 09:48:39 AM
The demo literally held my hand all the way through it and told me what to do... It was incredibly easy...

Its also not a complete game... I"m sure the full game will be incredibly large, much larger than any previous King's Quest Game. It will be more difficult and take more time simply because of its length, amount of dialogue and amount of puzzles.

In the early days, they only had room for a few puzzles, there was not much room for dialogue, and obviously graphics and audio were limited as well. Thus a need for artificial ways of extending gameplay. Limitations were caused by the fact computers simply were not as powerful as they are today, and they had to design games based on the limitations of their customer's systems (many customers did not even have hard-drives and were limited to floppies of various sizes).

Later on they started adding 256 color graphics which took up alot of space on floppies, so length was limited due to that reason(the games were also designed with 16 color graphics for people who didn't have expensive 256 color video cards yet).

 Majority of people did not have cd's yet, or much HD space(5, 10, 20 megabyte hard drives were new and quite expensive). So games were still artificilaly lengthened by other means to justify their costs to the customers...

So if they didn't have artificial ways to extend the gameplay length, and lead your hand through the game, they could easily be completed in 1-3 hours. People were not willing to buy games that were that short back then, and would not pay $30-$60.

If the companies did not make that much per game, they lost money compared to how much they had to pay the teams, and cost of making the games. Remember even technology was expensive back then, so they had to make money to upgrade their systems or pay for systems they already had.

You literally can't compare todays powerful computers to the way things were back then. Its a completely different industry. Now designers have incredible tools to work with, and space to work with. Many people have access to machines that are powerful enough to handle it.

So yes in today's market on today's machines it would be unforgiveable to have dead-ends, on games that literally are extended simply due to dialogue, audio and visual methods. No one wants to start over on a 30+ hour dialogue extensive game, just because they missed something during the first part of the game.
Title: Re: Dead Ends in the KQ Games
Post by: Yonkey on August 16, 2006, 10:04:13 AM
Yeah, and keep in mind that the demo only represents 4.5% of Shadows plot-wise, so there is a lot more "under the hood". ;)

But yeah, to get back on topic, I would never permit dead-ends in our game, and before deciding to join this team, I ensured that Cesar would not insert any either. :)  You can even read some of my newbie posts and find that one. XD
Title: Re: Dead Ends in the KQ Games
Post by: Baggins on August 16, 2006, 10:15:19 AM
It would even be unforgiveable if you did, considering you have access to computer systems that can more than handle a game of its length, and detail.

Considering most people have systems that can handle it.

BTW, what is the average length for your game if you listened to all dialogue and knew all the answers to all the puzzles? 30+ hours?

I can't think of very many people that would want to restart a 30+ hour game just because they made a mistake early on.

Your game isn't even as detailed graphically as commericial adventure games(or even other commerical 3-d games for that matter) like say Dreamfall, so the system requirements aren't nearly as high. So you can even have a larger player base.

As for Dreamfall I notice it adds replayability by allowing you to solve certain puzzles by different methods. You can talk your way out of situations in some cases for example, or you can take a more agressive approach and just beat the person up.

For exampel once you sneak into the "Victory Hotel" you have three ways of getting past the guard in the first floor. Either you can change the timer on a pizza rehydrator so it will go off early, and hide in the shadows and then sneak past him as he's trying to pull out his pizza. Or you can walk up to him and act like you want to stay at the "Hotel", and convince him to let you walk around the building. ...or you can just confront him and get into a fight and beat him up.
Title: Re: Dead Ends in the KQ Games
Post by: Yonkey on August 16, 2006, 10:48:00 AM
BTW, what is the average length for your game if you listened to all dialogue and knew all the answers to all the puzzles? 30+ hours?
To tell you the truth, I have absolutely no idea. :P  I personally find that whole "gameplay" metric to be very subjective, so I don't like to estimate like that. 8)

However, I know just reading the nine chapters of TSL plot in their raw form took me an entire day or two.  But then again, I read them while they were being finalized and over the course of a few weeks.  Plus, I wasn't just reading them, I was analyzing them and making criticism & comments. ;D

TSL is estimated to be triple the size of KQ6, so you you can work out your own timings based on that. :)
Title: Re: Dead ends
Post by: uselessidguy331 on January 08, 2007, 03:10:29 PM
By far the worst dead end in a KQ game is in KQ4...where about 75% into the game (and it is definately the hardest of the KQ series), you can dig at the gravesite with the shovel one time too many...break it...and be completely stuck. This is AFTER you have to go through the whale, the ogre's house, the cave, the weird area behind the waterfall, the witches, etc. Unfreakingbelievable.
Title: Re: Dead ends
Post by: Boogeyman on January 08, 2007, 10:10:43 PM
Wrong!
The worst dead end is not saving Cedric in KQ5.
Title: Re: Dead ends
Post by: uselessidguy331 on January 09, 2007, 05:38:10 PM
Wrong!
The worst dead end is not saving Cedric in KQ5.

Nah, KQ5 was far easier than KQ4 (in my opinion), so it wasn't nearly as bad of a dead end. The fact that it is damn near impossible to even get to the part with the shovel in KQ4 makes it all the worse.

But I will give you props for representing the greatest KQ character ever in your username/avatar.
Title: Re: Dead ends
Post by: Boogeyman on January 09, 2007, 08:44:52 PM
Failing to save Cedric = have to start back on Harpy Island and then go through Mordack's Maze again and then dodge Manannan until you can bag him.