Author Topic: Feedback and thoughts on Episode 3!  (Read 37923 times)

Offline Enchantermon

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Re: Feedback and thoughts on Episode 3!
« Reply #60 on: February 27, 2011, 09:42:13 PM »
Enchantermon, RE: Alexander & Mannanan:

Spoiler (mouse over to reveal):

Alexander ticking Mannanan off in KQIII could then easily tip the scales as his birthday approaches. He'd decide to kill him then and there, justifying it as a mercy for the boy anyway since if he were to let him live,
Spoiler (mouse over to reveal):
Perhaps, but
Spoiler (mouse over to reveal):
So what if I am, huh? Anyways, I work better when I'm drunk. It makes me fearless! If I see a bad guy, I'll just point my sword at him and saaaaaaaaaay, "Hey! Bad guy! You're not s'posed to be here! Go home or I'll stick you with my sword 'til you go, 'Ouch! I'm dead!' Ah-ha-ha!" Ha-ha. *hic* See? Ain't no one gonna be messin' wit' ol', Benny!

Offline colin

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Re: Feedback and thoughts on Episode 3!
« Reply #61 on: March 03, 2011, 03:42:20 PM »
Just to say that I loved Episode 3. The puzzles were excellent   although the chessboard puzzle did kinda of drive me crazy. I continue to enjoy the humour in the game
Spoiler (mouse over to reveal):
And unlike some are actually enjoying the story. From a technical standpoint I obviously didn't have as many problems as others. I did have an an occasional crash yes but that was all I really had.
Overall definitely the best episode so far.  :thumbsup: 10/10
Oh and the music just gets better and better. Its just phenomenal especially the arcade and chase scenes really gets
your heart thumping.
« Last Edit: March 03, 2011, 06:54:01 PM by colin »

Offline SilverBall10

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Re: Feedback and thoughts on Episode 3!
« Reply #62 on: March 07, 2011, 06:01:23 AM »
I enjoyed episode 3 very much!
I hope episodes 4 and 5 will be like episode 3 or better  ;D
Thank you Phoenix Online!!!!! 

:iluvu:



(Posted on: March 05, 2011, 10:26:32 PM)


I forgot to say, I wonder what will happen in episode 4, no clues from episode 3...
Spoiler (mouse over to reveal):
;D

Offline Damar

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Re: Feedback and thoughts on Episode 3!
« Reply #63 on: March 09, 2011, 01:38:34 PM »
Over all I liked the episode.  The added length was definitely an improvement, though I really still dislike the episodic release.  Like it was mentioned before, it makes it easier to forget some of the information that was offered before, and it completely destroys the timing and flow of the game.  But not much that can be done about that.

I liked the increase in puzzles.  I was also a fan of Lieutenant Shorty.  The line "There are boards with nails in them!  NAILS!"  Made me laugh.  Although the other unintentional lines made me laugh more, such as Graham asking Cassima about his son...as a man.  So many dirty one liners went through my head.  I also laughed at Graham's unintentionally racist thought that Shorty and Saladin are related because they're both collies.  And of course I cracked up at Graham's indignation at Shamir for suggesting that the family may be related to the Silver Cloaks because his family has never shown any magical ability.  I half expected him to add, "Well except for when Alexander mastered Manannan's spells in order to escape, turn the wizard into a cat, and kill the three headed dragon.  And of course he did use magic spells to save Cassima.  And come to think of it I guess I did learn magic spells in record time and school Mordack in a magic wand duel.  And I guess I do use magical treasures every freaking day!  But other than that...no...no magical abilities at all.  How dare you even suggest it!"

Over all my criticisms remain the same.  I feel like the Green Isles should be more expansive.  I don't like that you just plain can't get the the Isle of the Beast.  It might sound silly, but even if you could just go there and find the gates to the castle locked, thereby rendering the entire trip there pointless, that would still go a long ways to making the game feel more expansive even though the reality would be that it isn't.  Being told flat out that you just can't go somewhere when they're no reason you can't is kind of infuriating in a game that rewards exploration.

Even though I've defended it in the past, this episode the long narrations did get to me a bit.  In particular the generic response in the Pawn Shop.  It takes 3-4 clicks to cycle through it, and when you're dealing with a room that has a ton of stuff to look at, some of which is important, some of which has a funny response, and a lot of which just gives you that generic response, that gets old really fast.  Likewise, the bowl egg in the shop went a bit too far.  And really I hesitate to call it an egg.  If the bowls were hidden somewhere, ok, but they were out in the middle of the floor and a completely different color scheme than anything else.  I mean, the ocean egg from episode 2 at least was something that someone would have to think to do.  I defy you to find one person who wouldn't immediately click the eye icon on those bright blue bowls.  And if you do show me that person, then I will show you the crappiest adventure game player in the history of computer gaming.  Seriously, how are you not going to look at that?  And in response you get a very long dialogue.  In theory I have no problem with it, but it should have been a bit more hidden if you wanted it to be an egg, or shorter if you just wanted it to be a funny response.

Personally, like I said in another thread somewhere, I realize that this issue comes from a deep appreciation of the games and wanting to put in as much information as possible.  And like I said before, if this were a written medium it would be fine.  But it's not.  So you get sequences like the sour grapes story last episode or the explanation of how Alexander was named in this episode.  In a verbal, active medium like a game, it just doesn't translate.  In the example of Alexander it doesn't work because 1.) I don't know the story that the narrator is talking about, 2.) I will never read the story that the narrator is talking about, 3.) The story the narrator is talking about doesn't exist, and 4.) I'm playing a game and all I did was click the eye icon on the character that started this whole quest.  When all these are taken into account, the explanation becomes very out of context, hollow, and time consuming.  Kind of like how someone starts talking passionately about something that you don't understand and have no context for.  Even if they don't go on for long, the time spent talking about it feels interminable because you're just not interested or able to understand it.  Same basic concept.  And I realize that, as the writer, it would hurt to cut those lines because they're meaningful for you and add depth to these characters you love and have expanded upon, but ultimately it doesn't translate for us, the viewer.

Another issue would be the bugs.  Those really got annoying.  I know that they're being worked out and I'm sure part of the episode 4 download will be the patch to fix everything.  Still, they were wicked annoying and there were times that the game crashed and I just decided not to go back to the game for a while.

I'm a huge fan of the music so I feel obligated to post one criticism there.  I didn't like the electric guitars during the arcade sequence.  In my opinion, the music should stay with a medieval inspiration.  And I know what people will say: "What about Girl in the Tower?  That was contemporary and had electric guitars."  And to that I say, I hated Girl in the Tower.  The rest of the music in TSL was fine (though it did have a tendency to drown out the dialogue at times).  Actually, the rest of the music in TSL was great.  Even the arcade music was fine...right up until the guitars started.  But I guess that's just a personal preference.

I agree with some of the other people who are a bit confused about Manannan's actual motivations versus what we knew from King's Quest III as well as the backstory in the game manuals.  I know there will be an explanation, but when it comes down to it, I think it will simply be accepting this as fan fiction and an interpretation of how things resolve.  In a lot of ways it's a retcon, even though you can argue that Manannan never actually killed Alex, since you beat the game and so on so they're not technically retconning anything.  Still, once you accept that, and I personally have, it's easier to accept.  I'm interested to see how everything turns out.

In the end, as before, none of these things ruined the game for me.  Over all it was very enjoyable.

Offline kindofdoon

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Re: Feedback and thoughts on Episode 3!
« Reply #64 on: March 09, 2011, 04:29:42 PM »
I'm a huge fan of the music so I feel obligated to post one criticism there.  I didn't like the electric guitars during the arcade sequence.  In my opinion, the music should stay with a medieval inspiration.

Hm, there is definitely guitar in Episode 1 (when walking around in the castle) and maybe Episode 2 as well.

Edit: never mind, that's acoustic guitar.
« Last Edit: March 09, 2011, 04:31:14 PM by kindofdoon »

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daniel.dichter@postudios.com

Offline Arkillian

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Re: Feedback and thoughts on Episode 3!
« Reply #65 on: March 09, 2011, 04:33:09 PM »
I was particularly a fan of the electric guitar music. It was like... old school epic music from the 80s. IF you weren't into movies from then I could see why it wouldn't interest you, but for an epic fantasy fan, they were perfect.


Offline Morwen

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Re: Feedback and thoughts on Episode 3!
« Reply #66 on: March 24, 2011, 02:08:47 PM »
Just thought I would say that I thought this episode was amazing. The storyline seems like it is starting to piece together and some of the puzzles were really challenging/
Spoiler (mouse over to reveal):
But all in all it was really well done and a lot of fun to play!
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Offline dark-daventry

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Re: Feedback and thoughts on Episode 3!
« Reply #67 on: March 24, 2011, 02:17:54 PM »
Just thought I would say that I thought this episode was amazing. The storyline seems like it is starting to piece together and some of the puzzles were really challenging/
Spoiler (mouse over to reveal):
But all in all it was really well done and a lot of fun to play!

Thanks! We're proud of episode 3, and I think, from what I've seen so far, that episode 4 is just going to get better!
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Offline darthkiwi

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Re: Feedback and thoughts on Episode 3!
« Reply #68 on: April 23, 2011, 08:26:37 AM »
Okay, I finally finished Episode 3 and would like to post my criticisms. WARNING: This post contains many many many spoilers.

VOICE-ACTING:

This was a mixed bag but I don't think anyone can fault the game for this, since POS didn't have any money for voice-actors. Graham and Shadrack were, as always, excellent; although Shadrack's evilness can be a little over the top sometimes, I think he works fantastically overall and is able to make lines which might be a little bland have a lot more character. I think young Valanice's voice actor did a great job with the flashback scenes, Manannan was fantastic, and generally all the major characters were extremely well done.

I do have one complaint: the bird-guardian had a really, really silly voice. I'm terribly, terribly sorry to put down whoever did that voice, but I couldn't listen to it without laughing, which seemed inconsistent with that character.

DIALOGUE AND WRITING:

Sometimes good, but often overwritten. The worst example is probably the pawn shop description, which is in four lines:

"Very few times in his life has Graham seen such a collection of odds and ends in one place.
Much of it seems like useless junk, he has to admit, but one or two items catch Graham's discerning eye.
When you've been adventuring as long as he has, you learn the value of seemingly everyday items.
This store could be a boon to Graham in his search."

I know this is an in-joke about adventure games, but it's unusually long and could be cut down immensely. The description could easily be cut down to line 1, 2 or 4 alone, and the other lines discarded. Long phrases could be replaced with shorter phrases: "Very few times in his life has Graham seen such a collection of odds and ends in one place" could be shortened to "Graham has never seen so many odds and ends". "He has to admit", in line two, could be omitted completely; "discerning" could also go. I know that each of these cuts loses something from the line, but it is all information which the player already knows and does not need to have reiterated, especially in an incidental description. These four lines could be replaced with something like "Graham is amazed by the odds and ends piled up in this shop" at very little cost, and the player would get past the line much quicker and find themselves back in the game much faster, and able to play again.

There are some very good sequences: I particularly liked the sequences in the pawn shop where Graham recounts past games to the shopkeeper. The writing was short, allowing us to relive old memories without being cumbersome. The use of the 3D camera also made the scene much more dynamic.

I also liked the sequence where Valanice is taken to the tower, and the conversation between Manannan and Shadrack: they are fast, make a big impact and deliver the scenes' content in an effective way. Even here, though, there are a few lines which made me raise my eyebrows: "Let's live the life the society took from us!" seems overly verbose for a girl about to be locked up, and could probably be cut since the player will soon realise (if they haven't already) what terrible sacrifices the society asks its members to make.

I'd like to compare this episode with another adventure I started recently: The Curse of Monkey Island. One scene struck me as particularly well-written: a lemonade stand, with a sign saying "Lemonade", a sign saying "5c", a mug and the boy selling lemonade. When you look at the sign saying "Lemonade", Guybrush simply says "Lemonade!" When you look at the "5c" sign, he says "five cents". Looking at the mug yields "It's a mug for the lemonade!" Looking at the boy yields a slightly longer description. This means that, even if the player examines all hotspots in the scene, they learn what is important and what is not in the space of about ten seconds. They don't feel overwhelmed, because although there are a lot of hotspots they each have a short description, and they quickly and efficiently grasp the mechanics of the situation. I feel as though, when playing TSL, each of those hotspots would yield a thoughtful but unnecessary narration, which would detract from the player's interaction with the game.

Also, the game tries to be several things at once. Some of the narrations are brooding and melancholy, some are enthusiastic and some are in-jokes or are designed to be humourous. Variety is a often good thing, but it seems very strange to be playing a game where the narrator can describe Graham as in the grip of despair in one scene, and then make a joke about having lost the script or Graham being lazy or even (in one particulalry long sequence) have an extended argument with Graham which causes him to leave the game in disgust since he's underappreciated. I understand that the game has to walk a tightrope between nostalgia (and easter eggs) and new ideas (and seriousness) but the tone does feel inconsistent.

PUZZLE DIRECTION, GOALS AND LOGIC:

I thought this was also a little disappointing. I liked the number of puzzles and I liked the difficulty of the puzzles, but I thought that the way they were presented was lacking.

At the beginning of the episode we are given four items to find: Alexander's strength, Rosella's voice, a silver moon and a pinch of lively shaken salt. Some people have apparently been annoyed at how these ingredients are unrelated, but I wasn't bothered by that. After all, this is a macguffin quest, and ingredients sometimes seem unrelated to their eventual product.

What I had trouble swallowing was the way in which we get these items. We know that we need these items but we don't know where they are or how to get them. As a result, we have two goals: 1) Find the items (which we don't know how to do) and 2) Explore and solve any puzzles we can, regardless of whether they seem relevant to the fetch-quest.

To a certain extent this is fine, and is what most adventure games consist of. The puzzles which we needed to solve in order to get the salt were very sensible and I felt rewarded for clear thinking when I solved them: salt is in seawater, a living cup would probably shake it up (and there's also the pun in "lively shaken") and the cup will need to be heated on a low-intensity flame to boil off the water but not kill the cup.

The other puzzles were more problematic, though. I had no idea how I was to get Rosella's voice or Alexander's strength, and it was unclear how these nebulous objects could be stored. I was also unsure how to get the silver moon mould so just kept an eye out for one. The upshot of this was that I had no idea how to acquire these three items, so blundered through the islands solving random puzzles with no idea why I was solving them. I chased after a shell because a giant chequer had it, and even asked hole-in-the-wall to help me get it even though I had no idea why I wanted it. I acquired a net, saved a butterfly, manufactured a crystal tear for web-be-gone and got the web off the butterfly's wings, only to think "Well, that was interesting, but what on earth do I do with this butterfly now I have it?" I had no idea why the druidess's candle can be picked up by Graham - fair enough, I assume it will be revealed in good time - but I had no idea why I was supposed to solve the zodiac/standing stones puzzle: at first I tried to solve it simply because it was there.

In all, then, the episode did not present me with goals which I then strived for, but gave me a nebulous goal and then set me loose in a confusing maze with no idea why any of it mattered.

I'd like to compare to Monkey Island again, just to show you how I think goal-presentation could be handled. At the beginning of the game, Guybrush accidentally curses his girlfriend and turns her into a gold statue. Obviously, this is bad, so the player knows they have to find some way to lift the curse. They will naturally explore the world until they find some indication of how to lift this curse, which dovetails well with the gameplay, since this is the exploration phase of the game. Eventually they will find a voodoo wise woman who tells them that they need to find an item on Blood Island to lift the curse. To get to Blood Island, we are told, we will need a map to guide us there, a ship in which to sail and a crew who can man the ship. Guybrush then sums this shopping list up with: "Map, ship, crew. Got it!"

This splits the main quest - to lift the curse - into three subquests: get a map, a ship, and a crew. By exploring the world, Guybrush will discover that the local actors have been to Blood Island as they have a "Blood Island" sticker on their travelling trunk; even if he misses this clue, he will find it out through questioning the lead actor. This then gives him an impetus to follow this lead until he has a map. There is a ship anchored in a local bay; although it's not obvious how he can get hold of it, it seems reasonable to assume that he could commandeer this ship, pointing him in that direction. While exploring the town, Guybrush will find three pirates who he can ask about joining a crew; they will express interest, and will join him if he passes certain tests. One will join Guybrush if he can best him in a duel; one will join him if he proves he's a pirate by showing him some treasure; one will join if he can best him in a show of strength. Each of these three strands then lead to three further subquests - to win the duel, find some gold and win the show of strength - so everything ties up neatly. Throughout this first section of the game - and most of the rest of the game - the player can see their goal, can see how to get to it, and knows which puzzles need to be solved to get there. Unfortunately, this was not my experience of TSL. Whereas playing CoMI felt like building a ladder, step by step, to get something which was just out of reach, playing TSL felt like digging random holes in the sand until I struck gold.

The logic of the puzzles was also not obvious to me. I'm aware that nightshade can work to attract supernatural things, since it attracted Nightmare in KQ6 and was used to attract Persephone in the story in the bookshop, but it seems a strange leap of logic to say it can not only attract a voice (which is not supernatural) and then store it. The Samson and Delilah story also seems irrelevant to Alexander, since Samson was given supernatural strength by God which was linked to the length of his hair; Alexander was given no such gift. It is also odd that enchanting the nightshade and shears with various elements should make them behave the way they do; there is nothing particularly relevant about Earth and Fire, the elements used to enchant the shears so that they capture Alexander's strength. I don't see why lighting candles in a zodiac circle with blue flame should cause those signs to appear on the standing stones, and I don't see why those signs should enchant items with those elements - although such a link could have been made when talking to the archdruid, if he had said something about the power of elements, the power of the stars and the power of the standing stones. It is unclear why the pawn shop owner would want a crystal tear in exchange for web-be-gone; surely money would make more sense, unless web-be-gone is unusually valuable, so that the shopkeep would only be willing to trade it with something equally unusual.

The result of all this was that I felt I was blundering through a series of totally arbitrary puzzles solely in order to reach more arbitrary puzzles, rather than playing through a coherent and relateable game world.

ARCADE SEQUENCES:

Overall I thought these were well done. The chess board sequence established an initial problem, and the solution was fairly obvious but required thought to execute. It also meant that we had to use both sides of the tile, which made the player look at it in a new light and use it accordingly.

However, there was one small problem with the puzzle: timing. The chess pieces will throw the shell 1) if graham touches them or 2) if a certain amount of time has expired. This meant that, even if the player has figured out which tiles to alter, they will still have to act quickly to complete the puzzle, and there were many times when I placed the tile just as the relevant piece moved , which completely ruined the set-up and forced me to either go through the whole sequence from the beginning or reload a carefully timed save, taking up time. If this timing element had been removed completely then the puzzle would have been an engaging intellectual challenge with just the right amount of trial and error. With the timing in place it is still all that - but it is also unnecessarily frustrating, since players who have figured out precisely what to do are still punished, essentially for doing nothing wrong.

The horse sequence worked well because it was exciting and allowed for a fast-paced diversion; the flexibility of the quick-time event system meant that Graham could perform any dangerous or acrobatic move with a click of the mouse. I can't help wondering, though, whether the sequence would have been more satisfying if it had been more procedural. But, I can't honestly criticise it since I did enjoy it immensely and think it added excitement and backstory to the game at an ideal point.

So, those are my criticisms of the game. I understand that the remaining episodes have already been written and the lines already recorded, so substantial changes are impossible, but I hope that POS can at least bear some of these suggestions in mind for future games. I did enjoy episode 3, but all of these things (most of which are straightforward game-design problems) marred the experience.
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Offline Enchantermon

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Re: Feedback and thoughts on Episode 3!
« Reply #69 on: April 23, 2011, 08:56:21 AM »
As far as getting the strength and voice are concerned, I stand by what I said before: the books in the bookstore give you very clear indications of what needs to be done to obtain both. Once you read the stories, you apply them to your situation.

I actually really liked the moon puzzle too; I thought it was rather clever.

Moving Fan's candle was presented in the druid's dialog. I don't remember if he said anything about his candles, but between the Zodiac signs on the floor, the books in the bookstore mentioning the elements and the Four Winds article with the Zodiac signs and their associated elements, it seems pretty obvious to try it, at least it did to me.
So what if I am, huh? Anyways, I work better when I'm drunk. It makes me fearless! If I see a bad guy, I'll just point my sword at him and saaaaaaaaaay, "Hey! Bad guy! You're not s'posed to be here! Go home or I'll stick you with my sword 'til you go, 'Ouch! I'm dead!' Ah-ha-ha!" Ha-ha. *hic* See? Ain't no one gonna be messin' wit' ol', Benny!

Offline darthkiwi

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Re: Feedback and thoughts on Episode 3!
« Reply #70 on: April 23, 2011, 09:34:42 AM »
Quote
As far as getting the strength and voice are concerned, I stand by what I said before: the books in the bookstore give you very clear indications of what needs to be done to obtain both. Once you read the stories, you apply them to your situation.

Looking back on the nightshade book, it does suggest that nightshade can "take one's breath away", so I suppose that seems reasonable. The Samson and Delilah book also equates hair with strength, and since both books contain instructions for enchanting objects the puzzles are not actually difficult. I didn't actually have much difficulty with the puzzles.

But my criticism is more with the logic of the puzzles themselves. There's a zodiac circle in the druid's house, the four winds link the zodiac signs to the elements, the elements are linked with the items in the stories by the books - but I don't feel like that chain of reasoning actually works. I didn't follow the links in the chain because they were logical, but because they were just sort of presented to me, and I just did what I was told. My complaint with these puzzles is not that they're hard, but that they don't really hold water. Ideally, when the player reads the books in the bookshop and is told what to do, the solution should feel natural. I just felt that the links in the puzzle's reasoning were random, so that when I finished the puzzle, instead of a feeling of satisfaction at being clever enough to solve it, I just felt relief that the puzzle was out of the way.

Also, I apologise for the massive wall of text in my last post and I completely understand if people don't want to read that much text, but I felt that these things had to be said: if these problems were in a commercial game then I think a reviewer would pick up on them, and since POS is moving into commercial games it seems like a good idea to criticise anything now so that hopefully their future games will be even better and will do well in the eyes of more critical reviewers.
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Offline Enchantermon

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Re: Feedback and thoughts on Episode 3!
« Reply #71 on: April 23, 2011, 09:48:22 AM »
I'm not sure what about the puzzles isn't logical. Take the shears. You need to enchant them with the power of Fire and Earth as the book says. The Four Winds mentions Fire and Earth in conjunction with the Zodiac symbols. The only other place the Zodiac symbols are apparent are in the Druid's hut. Each symbol has a candle next to it. When you light one candle, you're given a narrative clue that something has changed elsewhere (I forget the exact wording). The natural place to check first is the standing stones. You see that they're lit up, and if you examine the center, I believe you even get a clue about a lot of energy being focused in the fire pit. Seeing that, wouldn't it make sense to try lighting up the symbols that are associated with Fire and Earth and place the shears in the pool of focused energy?

I think that's a very logical chain of reasoning.
« Last Edit: April 23, 2011, 09:50:17 AM by Enchantermon »
So what if I am, huh? Anyways, I work better when I'm drunk. It makes me fearless! If I see a bad guy, I'll just point my sword at him and saaaaaaaaaay, "Hey! Bad guy! You're not s'posed to be here! Go home or I'll stick you with my sword 'til you go, 'Ouch! I'm dead!' Ah-ha-ha!" Ha-ha. *hic* See? Ain't no one gonna be messin' wit' ol', Benny!

Offline Damar

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Re: Feedback and thoughts on Episode 3!
« Reply #72 on: April 23, 2011, 12:22:00 PM »
I agree with the spirit of those criticisms, though personally I found the voice and hair puzzle pretty intuitive.  I remembered that nightshade could take someone's breath away, so that drew me to Rosella to get her voice.  And when I realized I needed a place to store it, the shell made sense.  The same with Alexander's hair.

I think some of the other puzzles were a bit scatter shot though, in the spirit of what darthkiwi was saying.  The appearance of the shears, for example, bothered me.  They just fall out of the sky.  To me that was overly convenient and an easy out to give us what we needed.  And yes, before anyone mentions it, I know that the Four Winds article mentions why shears would be falling from the sky.  It's still overly convenient and seems more like a hasty explanation for why the game just decided to give us shears.  Plus, the shears are just coming down now?  Did they orbit the Earth a couple times first?  It's on a par with King's Quest VII when that black cloak just appears out of nowhere in the graveyard.  It's convenience run amok.  Plus, those shears could have been put anywhere just as easily to make more sense.  Just put them on the table in the garden.  That makes a vague amount of sense.  Or allow us to visit the Isle of the Beast and have them laying in the rose garden.  That makes sense too.  They're shears, they belong in a garden.  Just having them fall out of the sky when we need them is far too convenient and lazy writing.  Why explore in logical places for an item you need?  You've been running around too much already.  Let me just have them fall out of the sky for you.

Likewise, yeah, I agree with the crystal tear for the web-b-gone.  First off, the creation of web-b-gone did seem a bit convenient since we have that butterfly, but whatever.  But then the pawn shoppe owner won't even take money for it?  No it has to be a crystal tear.  And the final punchline there?  We end up cheating him!  We didn't give him a crystal tear!  We gave him an ice tear and ran off with his web-b-gone before it melts on him!

So I do agree with all those points, though I disagree that the two ingredients weren't intuitive.  The candle circle was hard for me, but that's more because I don't like having background reading to do prior to a puzzle.  I like to try and figure them out on my own.  This was evidenced by the fact that I kept dying because I used the candle colors to symbolize the elements (brown for earth, blue for water, white for air, red for fire, and green for life.  Tell me that's not completely intuitive!  Oh how I kept dying...)  Still over all, I found them intuitive.

Offline darthkiwi

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Re: Feedback and thoughts on Episode 3!
« Reply #73 on: April 23, 2011, 12:59:19 PM »
Now that I think about it, I kind of agree with the shears thing. That did seem a bit random, and I felt that, since a lot of the puzzles felt a bit arbitrary, less randomness would have been good.

Re. the zodiac puzzle, I'm probably not the best judge of it since I actually played the game in two halves since there was a period in between where I was unable to play. So by the time I got to the zodiac puzzle I'd forgotten the details from the books and tried messing around with different combinations of elements. But I still don't see why fire and earth should be associated with cutting, hair or strength - it just seems abitrary, as though the designers wanted another enchantment puzzle and picked the two leftover elements.

It's true that reading the book gives me the solution right off the bat, and that, if you read the zodiac pages from the four winds and the book, the solution becomes obvious. But that's not a logical chain of reasoning: that's just following arbitrary instructions. You might get to the right solution, but you have no idea why that was the right solution, which makes the puzzle kind of artificial. I just felt like this was the kind of puzzle that episode 3 tended to give me: not a series of puzzles which led meaningfully to the final solutions, but a series of disconnected puzzles which led me to the next step but didn't really fit into the context of our overall goals or the overarching story.

I mean, I don't think that's disastrous for the episode. I'm playing TSL for the story, rather than the puzzling experience. But I still think that this slightly random approach to puzzle design mars the game as a whole.
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Offline Enchantermon

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Re: Feedback and thoughts on Episode 3!
« Reply #74 on: April 23, 2011, 01:13:06 PM »
I agree with the shears; even though the Four Winds article practically said outright that you would end up getting a hold of them, falling out of the sky at that point was really weird, especially considering how long they would have been up in the sky first.
But I still don't see why fire and earth should be associated with cutting, hair or strength - it just seems abitrary, as though the designers wanted another enchantment puzzle and picked the two leftover elements.
Now that I'll agree with; it does seem rather arbitrary. But that's not really a fault with the logic of the puzzle. If you had to figure out on your own that Fire and Earth were associated with strength and hair and all, then it would be a poorly-designed puzzle, but as it is, the link between them is provided for you, contrived though it may be. The thing is, this didn't bother me that much (I did notice that it was a little odd, but I didn't dwell on it) because it's presented in a way that suggests there's a history behind the association that we are not aware of (and that we don't need to be aware of). In any case, the book provides you with something that is a fact in the fictional universe because we can't use the rules of the real universe to deduce it. Still a little weird, but I think it was designed in such a way as to minimize confusion, which, for some, it did.
It's true that reading the book gives me the solution right off the bat, and that, if you read the zodiac pages from the four winds and the book, the solution becomes obvious. But that's not a logical chain of reasoning: that's just following arbitrary instructions. You might get to the right solution, but you have no idea why that was the right solution, which makes the puzzle kind of artificial.
I think we're going to have to agree to disagree. I'm simply not following you on how the clues are not connected. What I wrote in my last post is, to me, a very logical progression from one clue to the next, showing the connections that I found between everything when I played.* It may be that we just think completely differently, and that's not something we're going to be able to reconcile.

*The exception to this is the Four Winds. I remembered the horoscope in it after the fact because I forgot to re-read it when Episode 3 came out. Instead, when I re-read the books, I remembered that the Zodiac were often associated with the elements and the arcane, so I Googled them. However, my point still stands. I know how I think, and if I had re-read the Four Winds I know I would have seen the connection.
« Last Edit: April 23, 2011, 01:16:31 PM by Enchantermon »
So what if I am, huh? Anyways, I work better when I'm drunk. It makes me fearless! If I see a bad guy, I'll just point my sword at him and saaaaaaaaaay, "Hey! Bad guy! You're not s'posed to be here! Go home or I'll stick you with my sword 'til you go, 'Ouch! I'm dead!' Ah-ha-ha!" Ha-ha. *hic* See? Ain't no one gonna be messin' wit' ol', Benny!

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Re: Feedback and thoughts on Episode 3!
« Reply #75 on: April 23, 2011, 03:16:34 PM »
I don't think you guys are quite picking up on why the shears show up where they do and in what fashion. Don't forget that other strange things have happened around the Green Isles already--and the article about the opening ceremony where the shears initially got thrown into the air and landed, scratching a Winged One, happened months and months in the past.

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Offline Enchantermon

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Re: Feedback and thoughts on Episode 3!
« Reply #76 on: April 23, 2011, 03:23:13 PM »
Oh, so they already landed from that. Then yes, we must have missed something.
So what if I am, huh? Anyways, I work better when I'm drunk. It makes me fearless! If I see a bad guy, I'll just point my sword at him and saaaaaaaaaay, "Hey! Bad guy! You're not s'posed to be here! Go home or I'll stick you with my sword 'til you go, 'Ouch! I'm dead!' Ah-ha-ha!" Ha-ha. *hic* See? Ain't no one gonna be messin' wit' ol', Benny!

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Re: Feedback and thoughts on Episode 3!
« Reply #77 on: April 23, 2011, 03:26:19 PM »
Yeah--they haven't been hovering around in the stratosphere all this time. ;)

The 'why' of it will become more clear in Episode 4.

Amusingly, the web-b-gone started off as a random item on the back shelves, where we put all the items that would've been really useful back in the old KQ games as a fun sort of joke. But then we were beefing up the butterfly puzzle and realized we already had a line for the perfect item to use there, so made the web-b-gone a real item to go with the puzzle. :)

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Offline Cez

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Re: Feedback and thoughts on Episode 3!
« Reply #78 on: April 25, 2011, 06:08:53 PM »
I simply don't see the correlation with puzzles being "illogical" in matter. It seems random to have to apply earth and fire to a shears to be able to take the strength of a man? If that doesn't hold water for you, then I guess having Salt as an ingredient to a spell that will take you to the dreamworld must be even more dumbfounding :)

Elements and zodiac become extremely important in this game in the upcoming episodes. Without wanting to sound sexist, earth and fire sounded to me more like "male-ish" elements, while air and water seemed more appropriate for the female gender.

But I digress, the point is that I'm not sure how we should be even discussing this to start with. You are talking about the most whimsical series there ever was, where "illogical" is key (how does cheese help a wand? And there was no clue whatsoever for that one!). But, it's difficult to give you a better answer than "we are in a magical world" Whether it seems illogical to you, it makes sense for the characters that live in this world, and if the clues are provided, like Enchartermon said, then you are just learning another piece of the world that is presented to you. Yes, to answer your question, we did add the zodiac magic to it recently --originally, it was just use the shears on Alexander, but we wanted to make it more challenging in general.

And that's the beauty of a game like this from a design standpoint. You have any idea how hard it is to come up with good puzzles for Corridor 9? I have to play by the rules of our world, where things make sense to us. In this game world, I can bend the rules through magic and present them to you. Whether they make sense or not, as long as the clues are there, that other part I believe becomes irreverent. But I may be wrong, I don't know.

On the other thing you spoke about, yes, Monkey Island, and all LucasArts and Telltale games are all very directing and very broken into the 3 goals puzzles, I know, I've worked for Telltale. But Sierra games aren't like that. In Sierra games, you are presented with a vast world with puzzles that you may solve without knowing why you are solving them for, and that's something we definitely wanted to keep. We did try it the other way around, for example, you could not try the shears on Alexander until you've read the book. Or we could have played the seashell only after you've learned somehow you needed to store the voice, but that becomes extremely limiting to the player, and that's one thing we wanted to keep from the legacy of Sierra. We ended up removing all the prerequirements and let the player get lost in the world. I can understand, however, that if you are playing a game for the story, you'd prefer a more linear structure where things fall into place in a story sort of way, but we wanted to open the vast world to the player and have them play in it. That comes at that cost, as opposed to the more structured Episode 2, for example, which had less exploration.





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Offline Big C from Cauney island

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Re: Feedback and thoughts on Episode 3!
« Reply #79 on: April 26, 2011, 07:23:57 PM »
The puzzles in the original Kings quest 2 made no sense. Just my input.
 

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