POStudios Forum

Phoenix Online Studios => Cognition => General => Topic started by: KatieHal on October 30, 2012, 10:21:37 AM

Title: Episode 1: Feedback and Thoughts
Post by: KatieHal on October 30, 2012, 10:21:37 AM
Give us your thoughts on Episode 1! What did you love? What was your favorite puzzle? What made you tear your hair out? What could use improvement? Got a favorite character? A least favorite? Someone you love to hate, or someone you can't wait to know more about?

If you've played the game and have thoughts on it, we want to hear them!

And warning--there will be spoilers in this thread!
Title: Re: Episode 1: Feedback and Thoughts
Post by: Haids1987 on October 30, 2012, 01:34:02 PM
My biggest gripe: IT'S TAKING TOO FREAKING LONG TO DOWNLOAD!!! :P

I'll get back to you on the others. ;)
Title: Re: Episode 1: Feedback and Thoughts
Post by: Say on October 30, 2012, 01:57:12 PM
Congratulations team!
Got a 9/10 review!
:D


http://www.futuresack.com/index.php/news/554/56/Halloween-2012-Gaming-Special-Day-6-Cognition-An-Erica-Reed-Thriller-Ep-1-The-Hangman-PC-Mac.htm

"Phoenix Online Studios’ first episode The Hangman is both an achievement in mature storytelling and great puzzle design. It is the spiritual successor of the Gabriel Knight series, but with its own unique ideas. Even if it has some technical hiccups and the graphics are dated, it has more substance than many other “serious” adventure games of late. The game also sets a new standard of episodic content with a long playtime of at least 5-6 hours and unlike Telltale’s The Walking Dead (which is without a doubt amazing in its own right, but less a game than a cinematic experience) demands a lot of cerebral thinking with its successful implementation of investigative work, cognition abilities and overall involvement in a believable game world.

Rating: 9/10"
Title: Re: Episode 1: Feedback and Thoughts
Post by: KatieHal on October 30, 2012, 01:58:04 PM
I was just about to kick-opff the reviews thread with that one. Yaaay!!! *dance*
Title: Re: Episode 1: Feedback and Thoughts
Post by: Haids1987 on October 30, 2012, 02:00:24 PM
You guys, that's great! Congratulations!!! !!!

(Still waiting on my download....;))
Title: Re: Episode 1: Feedback and Thoughts
Post by: Mr_Nabby on October 31, 2012, 10:02:37 AM
One thing that I thought was hilarious was when I looked at Gallager in the morgue. Erica started narrating about Gallager (out load!) right in front of her!
Yeah, it's a goof-up, but I couldn't help to expect Gallager to react to it.
Title: Re: Episode 1: Feedback and Thoughts
Post by: Mike the Wino on October 31, 2012, 01:40:52 PM
What an awesome game! Not that the "puzzles" were easy or anything, but this is the first game in ages where I didn't want, or feel the need to seek out a walkthrough. Admittedly, I did get stuck enough to ask for a nudge in the Hints section of this forum, but the subtle reply was just enough to get me back on track.

I thought the voice acting was superb! Great job all the way around.

My favorite section of hurdles was in Longmore's apartment. My only quibble with the game was that it crashed to the desk top twice....don't know if it was the game or my (admittedly) "barely meets the minimum requirements" computer.

One question: The "actress" who voiced Rose....Arabella Grayson....any chance she's the woman who had the broken leg (?) in that bank commercial, waiting for the loan officer to come to her house, and said something like, "She reminds me of someone else I know"....?  If she's not, she has a clone in the voice department!
Title: Re: Episode 1: Feedback and Thoughts
Post by: Borracho on October 31, 2012, 04:33:32 PM
I was VERY pleasantly surprised by Cognition.

I was pretty damn wary of the whole project but the graphic-novel style cut-scenes and excellent musical score sold me. This felt like a game crafted by people with a deep and profound understanding of what made the old Sierra adventure games so great.

What I loved about Ep.1 :

-The voice acting was top notch. Reed was dead on and so were Cordelia, Davies, Robert and John.

-The puzzles. f****** brilliant stuff. The whole Robert Goodman interrogation was terrific.

-The way Erica's powers are seamlessly integrated in the gameplay. There were so many ways you could have gone wrong on these but you didn't. Power to you :)

-The background art and cutscenes are f****** BEAUTIFUL.

-The soundtrack kills.

-The overall story is actually intriguing and pretty well set up.

-The different approaches offered for some puzzles and situations.

What i did NOT like:

-Sully seems like such a token Half Assed Love Interest Dude. He needs to either be scrapped or improved with some proper depth and allure instead of "Yo, I'm generic NCIS dude and I don't really know what I'm doing, but hey, listen to my accent!"

-The nerdy references of Fatso the Morgue boy were cute in their self-consciousness of geek/adventure game culture, but ultimately dorky and out-of-place with the game's serious tone. Kill him off quick. Fat smarmy nerds piss me off to no end :)

-The character models and animations were adequate but jarred badly with the amazing quality of the hand drawn backgrounds. It would have been better stylistically if you had gone 2D all the way, but I'm fully aware of the limitations and budget of a small studio.

-John has so much potential as a character and bruised n' blue love interest for Reed. Either have Sully step up or stereotype John less. There's something really good waiting to happen there. Get him out of Mosely mode.

I quite enjoyed the game, a very solid 8/10 for me. With less dorkiness/geekboy pandering and more commitment to a balls out, original and emotionally challenging experience that has nothing to do with NCIS mediocrity, you're going to have an absolute gem in your hands.

Congratulations to you Phoenix Studios. I'll be spreading the word ;)

Title: Re: Episode 1: Feedback and Thoughts
Post by: tessspoon on October 31, 2012, 05:05:47 PM
I really liked it! Originally got it as much to say thanks for all the work on TSL than anything, but if I hadn't already payed for the rest of the episodes I would get them for their own sake now. :D Her powers are more involved are fun than I was thinking.

-The nerdy references of Fatso the Morgue boy were cute in their self-consciousness of geek/adventure game culture, but ultimately dorky and out-of-place with the game's serious tone. Kill him off quick. Fat smarmy nerds piss me off to no end :)
Aww, I liked him. Autopsy on a cockroach! XD Rose was the one that annoyed me. If she calls me my dear one more time... :P

Title: Re: Episode 1: Feedback and Thoughts
Post by: KatieHal on October 31, 2012, 06:22:09 PM
Thanks Borracho! We love detailed feedback :)

Haha, and while not EVERY supporting character will get their time to shine (or die) in the game, we will see and learn more about a number of them as Cognition continues.

Good or bad, though, it's neat to finally hear the reactions of others about the characters we've known for so long already, but only between the team members.
Title: Re: Episode 1: Feedback and Thoughts
Post by: Lambonius on October 31, 2012, 10:58:47 PM
I will reserve my detailed thoughts for a full review once I finish the episode, but, I must say, having played through the prologue and a bit of the main narrative so far, the one thing that irks me the most is actually the controls.  And believe me, I was prepared to HATE on the dialog, which hasn't really been too bad, outside of a few forced sounding lines and an overuse of expletives.  ;)

Obviously point-and-click works fine here, but the controls feel like they could have used a few more passes to streamline the AMOUNT of clicking and mouse movements you actually need to do to perform any one action within the game.  I'm not sure if it's any different on PC, but playing on a Mac it feels like I am constantly dragging my mouse all the way across the screen to click things, be it the inventory, cognition icon, etc., and then dragging my mouse ALL THE WAY back to the hotspot, clicking again to bring up the action icons, accidentally mousing off of the icons so they disappear, having to click AGAIN (#@%$!!!) to bring them back, etc, etc, etc.  It's not terrible, but a click-hold-release system similar to Full Throttle or Curse of Monkey Island would have been MUCH more intuitive and improved the flow of gameplay.  As long as you're holding the mouse button, action icons would stay visible.  Move the cursor over the chosen icon, then release the mouse button to select it.  No fuss, no muss.

Even worse is the amount of unnecessary mouse-dragging and clicks necessary to perform cognition abilities on an object.  So first, I have to drag my mouse down to the corner and click the Cognition icon, then I have to drag my mouse all the way to the hotspot and click again, THEN I HAVE TO DRAG MY @#$%^&* MOUSE BACK TO THE GOD-DAMNED CORNER AGAIN TO ACTUALLY ACTIVATE THE ABILITY?!

YAAAAARRRRRRRRRRRRGGGGGGGHHHHHH!!!!!!!!

Why??  Obviously if I turned the cognition power on, I want to use it on the hotspot!  Why the extra step of dragging back to the corner to click the eye??  And if there are multiple abilities that eventually get learned or whatever, why not just use a similar action icon wheel like for normal interactions so I don't have to drag my mouse away again?  It just feels clunky and bogs down the actual action of playing the game.

Anyway, I really do mean this little critique constructively, even though I'm jokingly exaggerating my irritation level.  ;)  I'm enjoying the game so far, but the controls do feel a bit unrefined.  It seems like some streamlining could make the whole experience a bit tighter, and wouldn't be too hard to pull off.  Then again, I know nothing about the engine you're using, so it might be something totally beyond the realm of possibility.
Title: Re: Episode 1: Feedback and Thoughts
Post by: Cez on November 01, 2012, 01:21:33 AM
For Cognition, it's because of later powers. We wanted consistency among them, and later powers require the extra click :)
Title: Re: Episode 1: Feedback and Thoughts
Post by: Lambonius on November 01, 2012, 07:48:37 AM
For Cognition, it's because of later powers. We wanted consistency among them, and later powers require the extra click :)

Yeah, that's what I figured.  It's really not that bad; I just couldn't shake the feeling that it could have been streamlined a bit further.  It works well enough though, and the game as a whole looks and sounds great.
Title: Re: Episode 1: Feedback and Thoughts
Post by: KatieHal on November 01, 2012, 08:15:10 AM
I eagerly await hearing what your least favorite line is, Lamb :)

In the meantime, thanks! :D
Title: Re: Episode 1: Feedback and Thoughts
Post by: Lambonius on November 01, 2012, 09:02:43 AM
I eagerly await hearing what your least favorite line is, Lamb :)

In the meantime, thanks! :D

Haha...I bet you are!  ;)  So far no specific line has stood out to me, but I felt in general like the use of expletives, particularly in the prologue, was overdone.  I dunno, I get that the scene was supposed to be tense, but I'm not sure it was the best introduction to her character.  You'd never see Dana Scully, for example, pointing a gun at Mulder and telling him to "step the f*** back!" no matter what kind of tense situation they were in.  For me it broke the believability of her as an actual law enforcement professional, and made her sound more like a petulant, troubled teen.  Ultimately, I think that sort of thing undermines, rather than enhances, the tension of the opening.  But like I said, I'll have more detailed thoughts once I finish the whole episode.  :)
Title: Re: Episode 1: Feedback and Thoughts
Post by: KatieHal on November 01, 2012, 09:09:50 AM
LOL. Yeah--though Erica swears as needed, it came up more in that scene because of what was going on. It's an individual thing, but I know I at least tend to swear more when I'm tense or angry.

Kinda funny, we've had debates at times about how much she swears and when, and amusingly Cez & I each notice it more in the other's writing than in our own. Also fun was recording a "T for Teen" version of the lines, although most of them we'll never use I'm sure. But just in case, we did different takes. :)
Title: Re: Episode 1: Feedback and Thoughts
Post by: Lambonius on November 01, 2012, 10:32:27 AM
LOL. Yeah--though Erica swears as needed, it came up more in that scene because of what was going on. It's an individual thing, but I know I at least tend to swear more when I'm tense or angry.

Kinda funny, we've had debates at times about how much she swears and when, and amusingly Cez & I each notice it more in the other's writing than in our own. Also fun was recording a "T for Teen" version of the lines, although most of them we'll never use I'm sure. But just in case, we did different takes. :)

I think that particular line I mentioned being unintentionally funny is partly to do with the way the voice actor places all emphasis on the word f*** when delivering the line.  ;)
Title: Re: Episode 1: Feedback and Thoughts
Post by: snabbott on November 01, 2012, 11:30:04 AM
LOL. Yeah--though Erica swears as needed, it came up more in that scene because of what was going on. It's an individual thing, but I know I at least tend to swear more when I'm tense or angry.

Kinda funny, we've had debates at times about how much she swears and when, and amusingly Cez & I each notice it more in the other's writing than in our own. Also fun was recording a "T for Teen" version of the lines, although most of them we'll never use I'm sure. But just in case, we did different takes. :)

I think that particular line I mentioned being unintentionally funny is partly to do with the way the voice actor places all emphasis on the word f*** when delivering the line.  ;)
This was one of the first things I commented on when I played one of the early builds. I figured it was just me being overly sensitive, since I don't swear. (I'm not judging those who do.)
Title: Re: Episode 1: Feedback and Thoughts
Post by: ekaterina2 on November 01, 2012, 11:34:20 AM
I just installed the game and finished the tutorial, and by now I'm loving it!  :D

The music is very nice and creates a thrilling atmosphere, I like Erica's voice and everything of John's character

I need to continue the game to give a complete feedback, but I already have a suggestion: since English is not my native language, what I find very very useful in adventure games is 1) the possibility to pause the game during dialogues 2) more important, a "diary" menu where all the previous dialogues are recorded. This way if you didn't completely understand a sentence because you didn't know some words you can open the diary and check that sentence again with a dictionary.
Title: Re: Episode 1: Feedback and Thoughts
Post by: Lambonius on November 01, 2012, 11:59:58 AM
LOL. Yeah--though Erica swears as needed, it came up more in that scene because of what was going on. It's an individual thing, but I know I at least tend to swear more when I'm tense or angry.

Kinda funny, we've had debates at times about how much she swears and when, and amusingly Cez & I each notice it more in the other's writing than in our own. Also fun was recording a "T for Teen" version of the lines, although most of them we'll never use I'm sure. But just in case, we did different takes. :)

I think that particular line I mentioned being unintentionally funny is partly to do with the way the voice actor places all emphasis on the word f*** when delivering the line.  ;)
This was one of the first things I commented on when I played one of the early builds. I figured it was just me being overly sensitive, since I don't swear. (I'm not judging those who do.)

I swear all the time, and I still think it sounds a bit awkward and forced here.  Sort of an "adult game is more adult with adult language" type thing.  It's like the dialog equivalent of a 3 year old trying on her mom's makeup, if that makes sense.  ;)  But it's a minor eyebrow-raiser, not a major complaint.
Title: Re: Episode 1: Feedback and Thoughts
Post by: Cez on November 01, 2012, 01:14:14 PM
I was watching too much Dexter when writing Ep1. Erica ended up being closer to Debra than she did to Scully. hehe.
Title: Re: Episode 1: Feedback and Thoughts
Post by: Lambonius on November 01, 2012, 02:25:52 PM
I was watching too much Dexter when writing Ep1. Erica ended up being closer to Debra than she did to Scully. hehe.

Yeah, I can totally see that comparison, actually.  Lol
Title: Re: Episode 1: Feedback and Thoughts
Post by: centauri2002 on November 02, 2012, 09:32:18 AM
I've just finished the first episode and I thought I'd stop by and leave my thoughts and impressions whilst they're fresh in my mind.

Firstly, the story - it had me hooked and was very well written, which is especially nice since most games I try these days tend to fall down in that department. The characterisation was also handled well and each of the characters in the game come across as very individual and memorable. So, well done there. This is, of course, helped by the good quality of voice acting in the game, as well.

The puzzles and investigation were both logical and thought provoking, whilst not being too difficult as to frustrate. Although, I have to admit, I did spend a little time at one point in the game wandering from scene to scene looking for inspiration for a puzzle, but that's all part of the fun. ;)

Another outstanding aspect of this game is the music. I absolutely loved it. Atmospheric and moody. Nicely done!

Graphics-wise, I was a little put off by the style initially. I suppose we're spoiled with all the shiny graphics in AAA titles and, as such, I've grown used to it and find it a little difficult to accept anything which doesn't appear to match that 'standard'. That said, the story and genre of the game was more than enough to lure me in and get past those initial reservations. As it turns out, they actually grew on me. I liked the graphic novel style of the cut scenes and the minor issues with in-game graphics, such as lip-syncing being a little off and some clipping issues, did nothing to hamper my enjoyment of the game.

One little gripe I have with the game is some of the loading times, particularly between some lines of dialogue. It seems to hang a little as I waited on a character replying, or when I was waiting for Erica to perform an action.

My only other gripe would be that it ended. Now I have to wait on the second episode!

So, overall, I found this game to be excellent and thoroughly enjoyable. I'm very happy to be able to finally add another good adventure game to my collection. :)
Title: Re: Episode 1: Feedback and Thoughts
Post by: Big C from Cauney island on November 02, 2012, 09:41:55 AM
OK, just finished playing it all thew way through. Overall, I loved it. For the sake of constructive criticism, I'll list some possible changes. But just note that my overall impression is positive!

Some things to look at:

   1) Some minor graphical hiccups like clipping, or Erica pausing for a little longer when interacting with something.
 
   2) There were a few instances in the game where there was some "repeating". Best way I can describe this is that I was able to get a duplicate of an item I should have gotten once.  Same with certain conversations.

  3) I took me a minute to get used to the new interface, in particular combining items. But this is probably my bad.  I tried to use the selected item when combining, not knowing that you select 2 items actually in the inventory.

  4) I definitely would like to know more about the supporting characters, but this is only episode 1. I'm sure this occurs later

  5) As far as police work is concerned, taking things and breaking and entering probably aren't kosher. But for the sake of a game, it's understandable. Just getting law enforcement technical here, not really a problem.  I mean this isn't police quest, some of that stuff got irritating.

 6) I only heard the boston accent here and there.  But the voice acting was good.

Now, the good and overall impression:

    
     You guys did what you are suppossed to do in a game.  First and foremost, in my opinion, you must create a universe in which one wants to be a part of.  And you have.  I probably played for about 3 hours straight befoe taking a break, and I wanted to continue but I had a headache.  You definitely have created something that I want to play more of, real interesting concept. I liked the abilities, and the depth of the story. More mature than anything I've played adventure wise, but I like that. A good change. Downright creepy at points. When the flashbacks hit was dead on, right when neccessary.  So bravo for creating an interesting new world for the series, because this is crucial in adventure games, and you hit it off the bat.

    Some of the upclose graphics are a little dated looking, but good enough.  The backgrounds and animations are amazing!! And obviously, Austin has done incredible things with the music again. Dead on accurate. And I liked that scarlet furies song as well.  Puzzles overall were good.  In particular, the interview was an excellent puzzle.  My only complaint would be in the beginning, being given 2 items by the same person at the same time. A little more work for those items would have been better. Maybe in future episodes, limit stuff like that to one item.  I don't like being given much in adventure games, I like to work for it.  Most of the puzzles were incredibly difficult, but then again I am an adventure game pro of sorts from the old school. I literally click on everything and talk to everyone, so that's probably why.  I actually did use the hint system twice, because of some brilliant puzzles that had me stumped for a while, so great job.

   Game took between 5-6 hours to beat, and the ending was great. Some good plot twists I didn't see coming, I just don't want to leave spoilers here. Good episode length, good introduction, good voice acting.  At some points, I was reminded of laura bow and police quest, in a good way.  But like I said, in order for an adventure game to work you MUST create a world you care about investigating, and want to see more of. And you did it. My sincerest congratulations on an episode well done, and I eagerly await episode 2.













Title: Re: Episode 1: Feedback and Thoughts
Post by: KatieHal on November 02, 2012, 09:44:16 AM
Thank you guys! So glad you enjoyed it!

Yeah, the "police work" is fast and loose. We tried to include it here and there so Erica wasn't completely violating procedure, but like you said, this is a game and not real life (or a Police Quest game).

Big C: someone else also mentioned getting an item twice. Do you mind saying which one it was? I'm curious now.
Title: Re: Episode 1: Feedback and Thoughts
Post by: robboten on November 02, 2012, 09:51:17 AM
Oh, I'm so proud of being a backer for this! Just played it through and it's beyond all my expectations!

Beautiful graphics (stunning really), excellent story and well written dialogues, good balance between scary, hard, funny, brutal and sad, good characters with human qualities, soundtrack with the right moods and the right mixing, a real heroess/heroine with feelings as well as courage and bravery. The whole game feels fresh and modern without losing touch with it's ancestors. It's intuitive to play and the 3D-2D-comic-look really works (although I must admit that I was a bit sceptic at first). One of the best thing with it all is that I already feel a connection to the characters and the game. I want to learn more about them and all the time I felt curious about how it all developed. So many times I've felt that games leave me careless about all of the characters in it. Like they try to rub my nose in some made up story and with made up characters with no life and no mysteries about them. That for me was different here, and that is what makes it for me. So remember, leave the mysteries and the questions in there, make me long for answers before I get them! Make me curious and wondering, as in this episode!

I have played my good share of adventures (beginning with the old interactive fiction games zork and the sierra classics) and I must say this one is in my top spot now, along with Gabriel Knight (it's almost impossible not to see the connections here, in a good way!), The Longest Journey and such great ones. Good work team! Keep up the good work and many thanks from me here in the cold evening of Sweden!
Title: Re: Episode 1: Feedback and Thoughts
Post by: centauri2002 on November 02, 2012, 09:53:53 AM
Out of curiosity, are you thinking of improving the small amount of hanging between actions and dialogue for future episodes? It's certainly not a game-breaker by any means, but it'd make for smoother gameplay, in my opinion.
Title: Re: Episode 1: Feedback and Thoughts
Post by: KatieHal on November 02, 2012, 10:04:00 AM
We're always looking to do what we can to streamline the game. I don't think for Cognition we'll make as many changes between episodes as we did for TSL, but that's in terms of gameplay interactions. Making the game run faster is something we're interested in doing if we can.

That said, I am not a programmer, personally, so I've got no idea what's involved in doing that!
Title: Re: Episode 1: Feedback and Thoughts
Post by: snabbott on November 02, 2012, 10:16:06 AM
a "diary" menu where all the previous dialogues are recorded. This way if you didn't completely understand a sentence because you didn't know some words you can open the diary and check that sentence again with a dictionary.
This would be really nice to have, especially since you generally can't repeat conversations (without going back to a previous point in the game). I thought GK2 handled this nicely.

(Posted on: November 02, 2012, 10:13:41 AM)


I swear all the time, and I still think it sounds a bit awkward and forced here.  Sort of an "adult game is more adult with adult language" type thing.
I've noticed Hollywood seems to have this kind of attitude, too.
Title: Re: Episode 1: Feedback and Thoughts
Post by: centauri2002 on November 02, 2012, 10:16:34 AM
We're always looking to do what we can to streamline the game. I don't think for Cognition we'll make as many changes between episodes as we did for TSL, but that's in terms of gameplay interactions. Making the game run faster is something we're interested in doing if we can.

That said, I am not a programmer, personally, so I've got no idea what's involved in doing that!

Well, it's good to know you're interested in improving it nonetheless. Whether that minor gripe is addressed or not will certainly not affect my enjoyment of the game, though! :)
Title: Re: Episode 1: Feedback and Thoughts
Post by: wilco64256 on November 02, 2012, 10:22:19 AM
Yeah we're talking about developing an entire suite of tools and a new development pipeline from the ground up WHILE making Episode 1, which was a pretty insane undertaking. So there are definitely some things we still hope to smooth out a bit for future episodes, but rest assured there was a really incredible amount of work that went into getting this thing done and we are super happy that people are enjoying it.
Title: Re: Episode 1: Feedback and Thoughts
Post by: Big C from Cauney island on November 02, 2012, 10:39:27 AM
Thank you guys! So glad you enjoyed it!

Yeah, the "police work" is fast and loose. We tried to include it here and there so Erica wasn't completely violating procedure, but like you said, this is a game and not real life (or a Police Quest game).

Big C: someone else also mentioned getting an item twice. Do you mind saying which one it was? I'm curious now.

When you get part of the pendulu from the techie guy. You can get it again later in the game. I had 2 parts of that piece in my inventory. Its after you get gallager to let him use her space. You can come back and get it again.

When is episode 2 out? If I backed kickstarter, do I also get that?


Title: Re: Episode 1: Feedback and Thoughts
Post by: KatieHal on November 02, 2012, 10:41:09 AM
Episode 2's release date is still TBD; with the holiday season coming, we've got some strategic thinking to do on that one. But the episode is well into the alpha stage. :)

And yes, if you're a backer (above $20) you get the whole season! As it's released, of course.
Title: Re: Episode 1: Feedback and Thoughts
Post by: godvaku on November 02, 2012, 03:16:09 PM
Loving the game so far and decided to make a 20 minute or so gameplay video with some commentary. Hope I am allowed to post youtube videos.
 http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=EUnCA8phvhA

Keep up the great work, slight spoilers obviously! :D
Title: Re: Episode 1: Feedback and Thoughts
Post by: KatieHal on November 02, 2012, 05:27:54 PM
I watched that earlier today, in fact! I love LPs--especially of our games, hee :)
Title: Re: Episode 1: Feedback and Thoughts
Post by: Stoibs on November 02, 2012, 11:29:04 PM
Just finished the Episode. First of all absolutely Brilliant! Reed's voice actress is quite talented, the strength of the emotion in the Regression scene at Rose's with her "..who the hell forgets to bring flowers.." line was almost a tearjerker.  :-[

Loved the Interrogation scene and mechanics of how the Cognitive abilities worked there. I've always been a fan of point'n'click adventures that do more than just use x on y as puzzles, similarly to how Sam'n'Max Devils Playhouse had another layer of 'abilities' for example.

Though as per this thread, a few nuggets of constructive feedback:

- Alot of unnecessary clicking here and there. For example a few of the doors, the elevator buttons, locations on the World map etc shouldn't need the radial menu brought up on the first click, then another "use" command to travel.
Considered differentiating Left/Right click to use/examine? Plenty of other adventure games do this and it seems the right mouse button is completely unused so far.  

- Load times on the above mentioned world map were slightly annoying, several seconds between expanding to the "downtown" area and back, also when choosing a location there was an unneeded delay.

- Unskippable Dialogue Boxes every so often; When Learning the Regression power tutorial and doing the 'trial and error' of picking Scott's Jacket and face for example, the tutorial popup would appear after each attempt for several unskippable seconds.

- A few wonky animations throughout. For example when someone, John for instance was meant to walk over to me in the beginning and start digging; he instead stood still frozen for a time while the loading cursor appeared, then instantly 'teleported' to where he was supposed to be to start the digging animation. This occurred about 2 more times in various other instances.

- "Self Use-able" or "Combinable" Inventory items could be a bit easier to distinguish from the items that aren't. At the moment they gain a bit of colour as opposed to the rest which remain black and white - perhaps a background or border outline for each inventory slot which also glows and/or the cognitive glow effect could be used to make these easier to notice.

- I wonder how many other players were trying to scroll up/down on the various FBI Computer/Phone menus with the mouse scroll wheel to no avail... :(

- Graphical glitches which affected game-play. End game puzzle Spoilers
I had Sewall entered into the hangman puzzle - at-least I assumed I did, apparently my 'S' wasn't actually resting on S, and I had to flick through that letter until I got around back to S again for it to unlock.
EDIT: Apparently I'm not the only one. http://www.postudios.com/blog/forum/index.php?topic=12529.0

Apart from that though, I'm proud to be a backer and can't wait for Episode 2!  :D

I was watching too much Dexter when writing Ep1. Erica ended up being closer to Debra than she did to Scully. hehe.
Look forward to hearing Erica blurt out "Holy FrankenF***!" or telling Sully to go "Sh** up a rope" if he asks her out to lunch one more time  :yes:
Title: Re: Episode 1: Feedback and Thoughts
Post by: HitBattousai on November 03, 2012, 05:49:32 PM
Just finished it, and it's definitely one of the best adventure game experiences I've played in recent years.  The voice acting is solid(with Holmes being particularly good as Erica), soundtrack is great, the art style is very appealing, the story is good so far, and the puzzles in general strike a good balance of being hard enough to be challenging but not enough to be frustrating.  And the length of the game is pretty good for an episodic series.  My only knock on the game is that I think the "major" regression puzzle in the game lasts a bit too long, and it would have been a little clearer to complete if you could confirm with the power that the individual segments are correct or not instead of having to have the whole group correct.  An excellent first episode.
Title: Re: Episode 1: Feedback and Thoughts
Post by: Blackthorne on November 03, 2012, 06:07:23 PM
Episode 2's release date is still TBD; with the holiday season coming, we've got some strategic thinking to do on that one. But the episode is well into the alpha stage. :)

Now that's awesome!  Cool.



Bt
Title: Re: Episode 1: Feedback and Thoughts
Post by: KatieHal on November 04, 2012, 12:14:44 AM
BTW, Lamb & BT, keep an eye out in the FBI Main Station for a little easter egg. It won't catch the eye of most people, but hopefully you two will find it. ;)
Title: Re: Episode 1: Feedback and Thoughts
Post by: inm8#2 on November 04, 2012, 01:19:30 AM
I'm not very far but...I LOVE IT! The characters, the story, the atmosphere, the visuals, etc. It all works really well together. When I finish the episode I'll try to have more to say, but I just feel drawn into everything. Really well done!

On top of many positive comments so far, one thing I want to stress is the interface. It's very intuitive, sleek, and clean. It reminds me of Daedelic's interface, but in those games you need to hold down the mouse to bring up the interaction submenu. Here it's a little easier with just a click to bring that up.

Back to playing...that extra hour from ending daylight savings fall back couldn't have come at a better time.
Title: Re: Episode 1: Feedback and Thoughts
Post by: Lambonius on November 04, 2012, 01:45:45 AM
BTW, Lamb & BT, keep an eye out in the FBI Main Station for a little easter egg. It won't catch the eye of most people, but hopefully you two will find it. ;)

I think I got it.  Is it
iVend--like the iWatch from our SQ2?  :)
Title: Re: Episode 1: Feedback and Thoughts
Post by: smoothsailing on November 04, 2012, 04:14:04 AM
I finished the game yesterday - I think I beat it in 6 or 7 hours (I don't know, really, I was so engrossed in it I think I lost track of time  :P. I just know it took me two days and I guess I played for 3 or 4 hours straight each time).

First of all - I'm so glad I backed this project. I knew you guys could come up with something really good and I didn't blink one second when you started your kickstarter campaign. And I'm not even a fan of thrillers (either in games or tv shows/movies), so I had no real big expectations about it. I just wanted to give you some support given the fantastic job you'd done with TSL (basically, it could have been any kind of story line, I would have backed it).

That being said... I love the game! I'm afraid I'll have to repeat some things that have already been mentioned here, but I'll try to focus on some aspects I've really enjoyed, or which surprised me in a pleasant way.

1) The graphic novel style. Besides the great illustrated sequences, I love the dialogue boxes and the font you used. I think it fits perfectly with the style of the story and the interface.

2) The narrative, the atmosphere.... Totally reminds me of how I felt when playing Gabriel Knight and I can't think of a better compliment.

3) Secondary characters. I think it's common sense that there's no good story without good secondary characters, and Cognition lives up to this rule. I've really enjoyed interacting with them all. I wish Sully had a bit more substance, but I'm sure this is something that will be developed later on. He looks quite handsome though, so maybe that just what we need of him right now   8)
Also, in defense of Terrence - I love the guy! I like his lines, and was kind of frustrated not to have more interaction opportunities with him. I guess we'll just have to wait  :)

4) Cognition powers. I wasn't sure what to expect here, but you managed to make it really interesting. I really like how different layers are gradually added to Erica's basic cognition power. The interrogation puzzle is one of the most original puzzles I've had to solve in a while.

5) The music. That wasn't much of a surprise for those of us who've played TSL I guess, but still, it has to be mentioned. My favorite piece, for some reason, is when you enter the morgue (Terrence's desk).

6) Choices. I think it's great we are allowed to make some choices here and there throughout the game, it gives more depth to our actions.

7) The great variety in puzzles. Using the FBI database, Erica's cellphone, her cognition powers... it really adds something to your traditional point & click adventure.

Now, just a couple of things that slightly bugged me:

1) Some animation features - it looks a bit clunky at times (sometimes when Erica or John are walking, it looks like.... they're ditzy or something? (what's in those doughnuts I wonder? :P) Another one you may want to fix is how John's hand looks on his mouse when he's at his desk, which doesn't look very realistic). But then, as long as there's a good story, this kind of thing doesn't bother me much at all.

2) I encountered a bug when playing.
When leaving the crime scene after reading the hidden message and doing everything else right (going to the post office, getting the package), I couldn't use Erica's projection powers anymore, and there was no way I could find the niche.
Thankfully I could check this forum and realized all I had to do was to start again from an earlier save, but I'm sure a lot of players will encounter the same problem.

3) Something stupid: I had qualms about breaking into Davies' office and getting the package for her. It felt a bit weird not agreeing with what your character's supposed to do  :) Also, was I the only one to expect something bad to happen after 3 wrong password attempts?!!  ;)

Overall, great game - congratulations to you all. I cannot wait for episode 2 to be released!
Title: Re: Episode 1: Feedback and Thoughts
Post by: jRev on November 04, 2012, 08:53:59 PM
Congratulations to the Cognition team for a truly impressive effort! I just finished the episode yesterday and I was quite satisfied, although I did think there would be more: more crime scenes, more interrogations, and just generally more investigation work. That was the most satisfying bit of the game for me and I hope we see the same kind of gameplay in the following installments.

The two areas that need a bit of polish are the animations and the scene transitions. The frustratingly slow travel sequences and room changes felt like of a hard coded decision than a technical limitation. I grew to hate that circular loading cursor as the game progressed.

The animations just plain obviously need a bit of work. Watching the double click run animation is just torture. Also, it's probably an animation rig thing, but Erica's smile is creepy as hell.

It's a great game, though, and it truly brought me back to the golden age of adventure gaming for the hours that I was sitting in front of it, totally engrossed. I'm glad I backed this project and I can't wait to see more.
Title: Re: Episode 1: Feedback and Thoughts
Post by: KatieHal on November 04, 2012, 09:07:32 PM
jRev--well, there are still 3 more episodes to go ;)

Thanks for the kind words, guys! :D

Lamb: Nope, not that. :)
Title: Re: Episode 1: Feedback and Thoughts
Post by: Lambonius on November 04, 2012, 09:54:55 PM
Damn.  Guess I'll keep hunting.  Gotta figure out how to get into that stupid office.

That's another thing that I was going to say--I think the spinning circle "WAIT" cursor needs to disappear entirely during cutscenes.  Cutscenes are often triggered when clicking a dialog option, which is usually in the center of the screen--and there are always a few intrusive seconds where that spinning cursor is sitting right on top of someone's face or whatever, before you move it off to the side.  It's not a major issue, but it is inelegant.  I mean think about it--you've got this icon on the screen whose sole purpose is to tell you you can't do anything, and it actually can block things you're trying to watch.  It's a totally redundant icon.  You shouldn't need an icon to tell the player that control has been briefly taken away from him--the fact that he can't do anything should be obvious enough.  ;)
Title: Re: Episode 1: Feedback and Thoughts
Post by: Cez on November 04, 2012, 10:22:44 PM
It is. Especially because of what you mentioned, the dialog is right in the middle. I noticed that started to annoy me on my last playthroughs.
Title: Re: Episode 1: Feedback and Thoughts
Post by: Lambonius on November 04, 2012, 10:40:23 PM
It is. Especially because of what you mentioned, the dialog is right in the middle. I noticed that started to annoy me on my last playthroughs.

Cool, good to hear.  :)  I don't know why I'm getting hung up on interface stuff with this one--probably because we've had a lot of discussions about playability and functionality, including interface, lately at IQ.  Well, behind the scenes anyway.  ;)  I think that's the sort of thing that stands out more to a developer than just a casual player.
Title: Re: Episode 1: Feedback and Thoughts
Post by: cbrichar on November 05, 2012, 03:06:11 PM
Just finished the first episode, and wanted to add my voice to the chorus.

Amazing. Not certain how deep the collaboration with Jane Jenson went, but Gabriel Knight was one of the first 'adult themed' games I ever played, and the moody disquiet and tension that that game evoked so well in me all those years ago was recreated for me almost immediately - due in large part, first and foremost, to an amazing musical score and gorgeous background / setpiece artwork style. Add to that a sophisticated plot, puzzles that don't pander to the audience and a talented voice cast, and it was a knockout as far as I'm concerned.

The innovation in the puzzles (especially the interview with Robert) was awesome, and I loved the inclusion of some procedural research elements - assembling information through the FBI database, pulling together scraps of information... it really ground the story with a level of realism without turning it into a paperwork procedural, and I thought the balance was spot-on.

The one thing I missed in the later part of the game was the proper creepy scares present both at the very beginning of the game and also in the pre-game graphic novel / comic that set a really dark tone. I found that was incredibly engaging for setting the stage, and hope we get to delve back into that scene in episodes to come.

A few bugs / comments:

As someone else already reported, I found it was possible to get duplicate items in my inventory. Specifically...
I was able to get multiple bases of the 'Le Pendu' piece - the one that your friend at the morgue gives you in exchange for sorting out his equipment storage woes. You are able to send the email to the coroner from Davies' office multiple times. Each time it's sent, your friend at the morgue will respond by thanking you and giving you the base of the puzzle piece. I'd previously attached it to the rest of the figurine, but received another one.

When trying to determine the station location during the regression with Robert,
the differing colour for the *one* train station stop on the map seemed unnecessarily confusing. I appreciate now that it was showing an alternate transit line, but the natural conclusion when it's the only stop of a different colour was that it was the one we should use to solve the puzzle. Solving this was one of the moments that I had to get help online, and it forced me out of the atmosphere of the puzzle, which was a bit of a shame.

But again, thanks so much. You guys have proven once again how a well written plot, talented cast and attention to mood and pacing can create an incredibly engaging experience. (...and it was an unexpected thrill to see the full list of backers included in the end credits. I forced my wife up off the couch so she could watch my name scroll by. :)
Title: Re: Episode 1: Feedback and Thoughts
Post by: inm8#2 on November 05, 2012, 04:00:50 PM
I loved Episode 1. I'm not sure if I have any unique contribution to what's already been said, but I really loved all aspects of the game. Great writing, great characters, solid puzzle variety, great music, etc. Fantastic job!

I sort of like the waiting cursor during dialogue and cutscenes, but I'm a little old school in that regard.

As others have mentioned there were some minor technical hiccups here and there, but not anywhere frequent enough. I didn't experience any crashes or stalls. Sometimes, if Erica had to walk to an object far away when I clicked to interact, it would wait a few seconds then cut to her appearing on the other side of the screen. But this did not detract from gameplay and happened just a few times.

All I can say is that I was wholly satisfied/entertained and it left me wanting more. Now I'm crooning with the soundtrack on repeat. One of my favorite cues is the beginning of the track that plays in the station. I'd love to ask Austin Haynes if he was inspired by Angelo Badalamenti at all (Twin Peaks).
Title: Re: Episode 1: Feedback and Thoughts
Post by: SteelVax13 on November 05, 2012, 04:54:30 PM
I really love it.

Congrats to all the team for this magnificent game.
I really love the history, and the consecuencia and variarity of our choices.

I can't wait for the next espisode.
Title: Re: Episode 1: Feedback and Thoughts
Post by: KatieHal on November 05, 2012, 08:09:44 PM
Thank you so much!

cbrichar: Haha, yeah, if we were making it all up, I doubt we would've changed the color of that one station, but since that's one of the nearby stations and it IS a different transit line in real life, we kept it. (Blame me if you like, I'm the Boston native who more or less insisted on it;) )

And inm8#2, I am so glad it worked for you! And also that you loved it!
Title: Re: Episode 1: Feedback and Thoughts
Post by: Graham Cracker on November 06, 2012, 12:25:44 AM
Awesome!  Excellent, and the only bad thing is that I have to wait for episode 2.  :)

I love the fact that you could make choices that affect the outcome of the game; the conversation didn't slow down the action, and the voice acting was top notch ...

... alright,Imaybealittlebiasthere, BUT!  I did enjoy everyone's performance!

Specific favorite moments:
1) Any time you get to throw a burning curtain on a bad guy, it's a good day. 
2) Action sequence in the church at the end
3) The "ah ha" moments at the apartment with the file folders, the final construction of the french noose toy revealing an SD card revealing the next victim
4) Any time Erica gets to use her gun.   

Title: Re: Episode 1: Feedback and Thoughts
Post by: snabbott on November 06, 2012, 11:26:31 AM
Awesome!  Excellent, and the only bad thing is that I have to wait for episode 2.  :)
I don't. :suffer:

(Posted on: November 06, 2012, 12:16:07 PM)


there are always a few intrusive seconds where that spinning cursor is sitting right on top of someone's face or whatever, before you move it off to the side.
Too bad it's not a crown icon so you could put it on people's heads. :P

@inm8#2, I'm glad you enjoyed the episode, especially after all the technical issues in the beginning!
Title: Re: Episode 1: Feedback and Thoughts
Post by: Big C from Cauney island on November 06, 2012, 01:14:53 PM
One other thing, for some reason I was envisioning some sort of gun obstacle course in a future episode, maybe related to a puzzle or something.  Fire the gun more would be cool, especially if part of a puzzle or just trying to get through a booby trapped location or something.  Some people don't like action sequences in adventure games, but if related to a larger overall puzzle it might be cool.  Like an action sequence to disable booby traps or something. Just a thought
Title: Re: Episode 1: Feedback and Thoughts
Post by: cbrichar on November 06, 2012, 02:08:32 PM
Haha, yeah, if we were making it all up, I doubt we would've changed the color of that one station, but since that's one of the nearby stations and it IS a different transit line in real life, we kept it. (Blame me if you like, I'm the Boston native who more or less insisted on it;) )

I didn't at all appreciate that those stations (including the lines) were all based on the real deal! I take back everything I said on that point entirely. Were I familiar with the city, it's little touches like those that I would appreciate. :)
Title: Re: Episode 1: Feedback and Thoughts
Post by: inm8#2 on November 06, 2012, 02:30:08 PM
I've only been to Boston a couple times (once to run the marathon!) but definitely recognized the train stations. I was expecting Dunkin' Donuts vendors as well!
Title: Re: Episode 1: Feedback and Thoughts
Post by: ipaine on November 07, 2012, 10:22:51 PM
First thing I will say is, great job. Easily one of the best I have played in a long time. I am very eagerly waiting for episode 2 and onward. As I think others mentioned it really did kind of bring me back to that same kind of feeling I had when playing Gabriel Knight for the 1st time and that is very high praise.

Now onto the couple of things that did bug me a little while playing. First thing I was going to mention was the need to get rid of the circle cursor during cutscenes, but then I saw this:

That's another thing that I was going to say--I think the spinning circle "WAIT" cursor needs to disappear entirely during cutscenes...

It is. Especially because of what you mentioned, the dialog is right in the middle. I noticed that started to annoy me on my last playthroughs.

That really made my day, just found the thing tended to break the mood a bit. My one other little gripe would be the loading times. I think they need to be a little bit better streamlined. I have the game installed onto a ramdisk so really the loading should be damn near instant but it still has those few extra seconds that I feel shouldn't be there.

Now all that said, it really was such a good game that I very easily overlooked those tiny imperfections. Hell finally got time to install it yesterday and had to stop playing it last night because I was getting sort of stuck in the interrogation when I noticed it was already 2am and I had to get up at 6 for work. So what did I do as soon as I was home from work? Picked it up and played till the end. Really great work guys. Plus it impressed my kids to see my name in the credits at the end, so very worth the backing.
Title: Re: Episode 1: Feedback and Thoughts
Post by: bigpsycho on November 09, 2012, 08:49:36 PM
Episode 1 was amazing - Loved the puzzle about interrogation.

Though some bugs in the games but still very nice


can't wait for episode 2 :D
Title: Re: Episode 1: Feedback and Thoughts
Post by: Rosella on November 09, 2012, 10:43:27 PM
Just finished Cognition. Really, really, really enjoyed it overall, so here's a (possibly too) detailed breakdown.

Things I liked:
-Great voice acting. I'm decently critical of acting in games and I find myself constantly wondering "Well, if the line were delivered this way, I feel like it would get across the tone better," and I don't think I did that a single time throughout the game.

-Great music. I loved the addition of The Scarlet Furies as well. Great song and it made the whole world feel more rounded out and alive.

-Mostly fantastic puzzles, with a few exceptions. The interrogation scene, like everyone has said, played out really well. I felt good for solving it, and that's always the ideal with adventure games. There is no worse feeling than "Seriously? How on earth was I supposed to figure THAT out?" after clicking random things together. :P

-Reminded me of The Longest Journey. I can't put my finger on why. Maybe it's the combination of the present setting plus supernatural elements, maybe it's just the fact that the puzzles feel like adventure gaming gone right, but regardless, it's a great thing. I've never played Gabriel Knight, which is apparently the more commonly cited inspiration, but still. XD

-The hint system was really cute. It was usually very aware of what state the game was at, and that was very helpful. The one complaint I have is the persistent request that I take a picture of the tattoo. I did. And I didn't even use it this episode. XD

-The multiple solutions! I didn't even realize it on my playthrough but reading through the hints section, I really like the alternate puzzle solutions you guys set up. Things like needing Davies' "interrogation mug" or Terence not wanting to help you were things I never experienced, but I love that they exist. I always love it when two people can play the same game and discuss it and have vastly differing experiences (this was one of the things I loved about Heavy Rain). Obviously you were limited in what you could do (certain things clearly still have to happen), but the fact that the puzzles had different solutions, and it's not just that the dialogue was different really stuck out to me as great design. :)


Things that took me out of the experience:
-Needing to find change for the vending machine. I know it wasn't much of a puzzle, and the "solution" was fairly simple, but I couldn't help but think "Seriously? I am a grown woman and you're telling me I don't have a wallet on me?" It just bugged me that we had all of the logical things for Erica to keep with her (cell phone, badge, gun), but no wallet. :P Also, then having to bash the machine to get the chips out, was that meant to set a tone? It's fine if it was supposed to create an atmosphere, and it sort of did that, but my first instinct was that you were just making me click more. :P

-This got mentioned before, but the weird loading times when you learn about projection. Maybe I should've remembered what Scott looked like, but clearly I wasn't the only one to forget, so that basically brought it down to trial and error, and there was a several second delay between each try. I didn't need to read the tutorial again, I just needed to try again.

-Related to that was the conversation with Sully in the apartment. Having to click through the entire conversation every time I messed up during the end was really, really tedious. I know it'd make it easier for mindless trial and error, but what about Sully going "No, something doesn't seem right," and then re-asking the question you just got wrong? I feel like that'd be a lot more engaging than the obviously metagame concept of clicking through dialogue I've already seen. Also, if I say "I need to look at some things, give me a sec," that should not count as failing the dialogue. I made the cautious decision and I should not be penalized by having to start that entire "puzzle" over.


Minor nitpicks:
-Erica's accent. At first I thought it was a Boston accent bleeding through, but then I realized it was probably supposed to be a Boston accent. It just seemed a bit unnatural. The acting was still spot-on, but things like turning all -ing words into -in' words and ending "er"s into ending "uh" sounds just seemed very forced.

-A couple interface quirks. First off, like some others have mentioned, Cognition powers felt a bit off. Why not just have the respective Cognition power activate after the requisite amount of things have been clicked on? For projection, all you'd have to do is just make it so if the improper things were clicked on, just give the error message and leave the things highlighted. That way the user can unclick one of them and then the game can go back to detecting when 3 have been reached. I'm not sure exactly how the system is implemented, but from a pseudocode point of view it doesn't seem like it'd be too hard.

-Combining items. Unless you're really familiar with prefix notation, "item + item" is a lot more intuitive than "+ item item". I get that you were going for consistency with things like needing to click the hand icon and then the item, but I think clicking the item and then the plus and then the other item would be a lot more intuitive.

-The map. I'm not really sure if the eye icon on the map really did anything but make me click twice. I know it's a morgue; it says morgue right on the map. I don't think it ever gave me any additional information. Also, this meant that the "Back to Boston overview" button also had two options when you clicked on it, and that was definitely unnecessary. I just think it'd speed it up a bit if you could just click on the location and go there.

-As others have mentioned, the spinning wait icon. The only reason it really serves a purpose is if the game looks like it should be taking input but isn't, like if it's in an animation of, say, opening a drawer and taking something out. Maybe the game is loading the animation and not doing anything yet, so the wait icon lets me know that "yes, I have seen your input and yes, I am doing something about it. Just give me a sec," and that's helpful information. During things like cutscenes or dialogue, there is stuff going on that clearly lets me know the game is doing things. People are talking or images are coming up on screen. It's redundant and, like people have said, it gets in the way.

-I've never seen the name Terrence spelled with only one R. Obviously this is just a choice and not an error, but it still stuck out a bit to me. XD


Other comments:
-I, personally, loved Terence. It was a bit of a tone break from the rest of the game, but I liked that.

-While the swearing didn't bother me personally (probably because I watch quite a bit of Dexter too :P),
frontloading the game with it might've been a bit of a poor choice, since it clearly put a few people off.

-I think I'd have to agree that UI issues stick out a lot more when you're looking at it from a design point of view. :P

-A log function would be crazy helpful, especially during that Sully conversation I mentioned earlier. There were a couple questions he asked where I went "Wait, I know Sully mentioned this as soon as I told him about the files, but what did he say?"

-Sully may have been a bit one-dimensional, but I thought he was cute. <3
Title: Re: Episode 1: Feedback and Thoughts
Post by: Cez on November 10, 2012, 12:47:01 AM

-I've never seen the name Terrence spelled with only one R. Obviously this is just a choice and not an error, but it still stuck out a bit to me. XD



He's actually one of our backers :)

Glad you guys are enjoying the game. Thanks for the feedback!!!
Title: Re: Episode 1: Feedback and Thoughts
Post by: LordBT on November 11, 2012, 09:09:40 AM
You'd never see Dana Scully, for example, pointing a gun at Mulder and telling him to "step the f*** back!" no matter what kind of tense situation they were in.  For me it broke the believability of her as an actual law enforcement professional, and made her sound more like a petulant, troubled teen.
I reacted to this as well, because it seemed completely out of line pulling a gun at a partner and friend like that (Unless you are a troubled teen agent).

(Posted on: November 11, 2012, 11:40:17 AM)


I really enjoyed the first episode. Especially investigating the Goodman-case, pondering what might have happened, finding the evidence and uncovering the whole story.

The feel and mood is great, the story and puzzles are exciting and well integrated into each other, and the music and graphics works out fine.

At first i didn't care much for the graphics, but they really grew on me, and now I am enjoying the style. It didn't take long getting used to. The only thing I want to complain about now, like some prevous posters, is the spinning circle during cut scenes.

I agree that Sully seemed lame and one dimensional at first, but he became more normal towards the end of the episode, so I think he will work out fine.

The cut-scene with Davies where she tells Erca she is off the case just seemed completely unnecessary. It was telling not showing, and everyone got the point before it even started. Some of the dialogue with Rose also was a bit slow.
Title: Re: Episode 1: Feedback and Thoughts
Post by: inm8#2 on November 11, 2012, 07:11:02 PM
I love the map music. It kind of reminds me of the map music from GK3.

I think the first episode was mainly about getting to know Erica and setting up future stories. I'm sure Sully, John, and others will be integral parts of what happens!
Title: Re: Episode 1: Feedback and Thoughts
Post by: KatieHal on November 12, 2012, 09:34:07 AM
We wanted to have at least ONE scene where Davies was on-screen, alive, and not being a hard-ass. She does come off pretty harsh at the crime scene (even when you do a good job!).
Title: Re: Episode 1: Feedback and Thoughts
Post by: Jack Stryker on November 13, 2012, 01:52:38 PM
First of all, I want to say that I had a great time with this game, both as a beta tester and as a player.  I wasn't able to beta test some of the latest builds, due to some trouble getting them to download, so when I played the official release version I was completely blown away by how vastly improved it was over the betas.  Almost as blown away as I was when I saw Wreck-It Ralph.  ...But that's another story.  Anyway...

Most of the things I didn't like were pretty minor things, like subtitles appearing when Erica reads- ...okay, that was awkward- when she reads an email.  Probably not necessary, because I can read what's on the computer screen.  That and too many typing sounds in the background; when she wouldn't be expected to be typing at the time.

But I think what disappointed me most was this:

After finding out the identity of the hanging victim, you find that he was a serial killer and the one who killed Sarah.  Don't get me wrong.  I'm glad that scumbag got what he had coming, but I hate how I'm supposed to bring *his* killer to justice; when I would've preferred to be the one to avenge Sarah and all those other victims.  

Also, there's something about it that I don't get.  If Anthony was a murderer and his killer wanted to punish him for all the murders he committed, then why would they want to cover up Anthony's identity and hide all that evidence linking him to those crimes?

Other than that though, I think it's an outstanding game and I'm proud to have contributed to it.  Like everyone else here, I will of course be looking forward to episode 2.

*salutes*
Title: Re: Episode 1: Feedback and Thoughts
Post by: Blackthorne on November 14, 2012, 06:15:34 AM
Bringing his killer to justice is what Law Enforcement (and being an FBI agent) is all about.  I really like that element, and kudos with them going for that hard-edged truth there.  Sometimes "policework" isn't all about vigilantism and revenge.

Bt
Title: Re: Episode 1: Feedback and Thoughts
Post by: Jack Stryker on November 14, 2012, 12:36:40 PM
I know.  But still, while I would still do my job at that point, I'd be feeling a bit reluctant if not for Davies being in danger.  But that's me.
Title: Re: Episode 1: Feedback and Thoughts
Post by: waltzdancing on November 16, 2012, 11:17:34 PM
I just finished Cognition and I must say, when I started playing it I was struggling to just play. It was so different from what I am use to playing that I really needed to warm up to this game. As I played, and the pace of the game picked up I really enjoyed it and was shocked by the ending! It really makes me curious about Episode 2 and I will be the first in line to make sure I get it. :) Awesome job, you made a person who normally wouldn't play a game like this, and hooked her at the end. BRAVO!
Title: Re: Episode 1: Feedback and Thoughts
Post by: Blowfish64 on November 18, 2012, 12:04:08 AM
I played the demo... then I got to the part where Scott collapses and dies like in every predictably timed B-rate movie.  I was actually going to buy it up until that point.  Now I'll spend my money on better written games.
Title: Re: Episode 1: Feedback and Thoughts
Post by: KatieHal on November 18, 2012, 08:53:02 AM
Sorry to hear it wasn't to your liking, Blowfish--the demo is only about 1/10th of the total game. But, thanks for playing the demo and if you ever do change your mind, it'll still be here. :)
Title: Re: Episode 1: Feedback and Thoughts
Post by: Zinfandel on November 20, 2012, 08:55:51 PM
Hello Katie, César and the Phoenix team!

I simply wanted to share, like many others before me, some feedback about the first episode. I'm about halfway through and so far I've been enjoying it greatly. I particularly like the thick atmosphere, the very beautiful and stylish backgrounds, the tightly-edited cutscenes, the haunting soundtrack, and last but certainly not least, the quality of the writing and voice acting.

The puzzles are enjoyable and make sense to me, and I appreciate the effort that went into things such as the flashlight flares in the opening scene, the polished interface for the FBI's computers and the smooth screen scrolling.

Considering you made this with a fraction of the budget used in this product range is nothing short of astonishing. Seriously guys, this is amazing! Cognition is awesome!

Don't let anyone stand in your way! ;)

Cheers!
Title: Re: Episode 1: Feedback and Thoughts
Post by: KatieHal on November 21, 2012, 08:26:48 AM
Thank you so much Zinfandel! And welcome to the forums, too :)
Title: Re: Episode 1: Feedback and Thoughts
Post by: jfrisby on November 21, 2012, 09:55:07 PM
Only a little way into Episode 1, but loving the atmosphere/everything so far.  

Worlds ahead of Silver Lining all around.

My only thought is that there's a bit of excessively long animations thing going on (like, too many frames or whatever for some basic movements) -- felt a bit slow, and drawn-out transitions between modes / viewing a memory.  Don't know if that's an engine thing, or my computer?  Seems like some of those things could use streamlining.  

Edit to add:
Seems like a few other people have mentioned the wait icon/animation nit-picks.  (Sorry animation-team  <3
Title: Re: Episode 1: Feedback and Thoughts
Post by: Darkpulse on November 22, 2012, 01:57:19 AM
Just finished Episode 1 and BOY .. I .. LOVE....IT!!!!.. ofcourse there are some minor details which could use some polishing but overall.. the storytelling, story, graphics mood, music.. it is spot on!

I love adventures ever since Collossal Adventure, time and magik, return to eden (and even Zakil Wood on the MSX) and after that Gabriel Knight and well all Sierra stuff...This game brings me back to that time!

Thank you for this game!

BTW I have a question, what is the planning on episode 2.. is it like monthly, 2 monthly.. half year or year release planning? :-)

Title: Re: Episode 1: Feedback and Thoughts
Post by: Zinfandel on November 22, 2012, 09:22:59 AM
Thank you so much Zinfandel! And welcome to the forums, too :)

Thanks, and you are welcome, Katie. I finished the episode last night and am even more blown away than I was when I wrote that post. I love the end credits song; I didn't suspect that Raleigh had such a broad vocal range. What a superb game!
Title: Re: Episode 1: Feedback and Thoughts
Post by: Say on November 25, 2012, 02:36:24 PM
I played the demo... then I got to the part where Scott collapses and dies like in every predictably timed B-rate movie.  I was actually going to buy it up until that point.  Now I'll spend my money on better written games.


Why didn't you like it, Blowfish? I'm curious what your expectations were regarding that story line.

I think it's subjective to say whether it's good or bad so early in the game (specially just by playing the demo), but personally I think it's part of what gives Erica character and that edgy obsessive part of her into finding the killer. Had Scott lived and he had been part of what episode 1 was, I dont think Erica may have been who she was. I don't want to spoil much, but I think in a way that had to happen in order for things to happen the way they did in the game.



Title: Re: Episode 1: Feedback and Thoughts
Post by: Lambonius on November 26, 2012, 02:12:17 PM
I played the demo... then I got to the part where Scott collapses and dies like in every predictably timed B-rate movie.  I was actually going to buy it up until that point.  Now I'll spend my money on better written games.


Why didn't you like it, Blowfish? I'm curious what your expectations were regarding that story line.

I think it's subjective to say whether it's good or bad so early in the game (specially just by playing the demo), but personally I think it's part of what gives Erica character and that edgy obsessive part of her into finding the killer. Had Scott lived and he had been part of what episode 1 was, I dont think Erica may have been who she was. I don't want to spoil much, but I think in a way that had to happen in order for things to happen the way they did in the game.





It's not that it wasn't an important part of defining her character, it's that in order to define that aspect of her character, the writers had to resort to a fairly cliched trope of B crime movies.  Really, pretty much all the major characters in the game, especially Erica, are very cliched, and most are fairly one-dimensional (though I suspect that will change somewhat as the season goes on.)  You've got Hard-Edged Boss (who in my opinion is obnoxiously over-the-top in this game, though that is partly due to bad voice acting), Gruff Everyman Sidekick, Whiny Jilted Ex-Lover, Mysterious Old Woman, Nerdy Tech Guy, and the piece de resistance, Erica, aka Strong-Willed-Woman-In-A-Man's-World Female Lead.  It's all very cheesy, frankly, though I think that's also part of its charm.  It reads to me more like a conscious attempt to evoke B crime thrillers, which typically have all of the same cliches.
Title: Re: Episode 1: Feedback and Thoughts
Post by: KatieHal on November 26, 2012, 02:52:45 PM
There are some cliches--but really, when aren't there? But moreover, yes, I'd say just about all of the characters get a chance (in Ep 1 or later) to develop past that. Some, of course, don't really get that chance since we only see so much of them.

I don't think Erica's all that cliched. She fits a certain mold, yes, but there's far more to her than that which we see even in the first Episode. And I wouldn't even say "in a Man's World" because that never comes up. At no point does anyone call her out for being a woman in this game. It's not a plot point, it's never brought up, it's not used against her (or for her, for that matter). Hell, it wouldn't be all that hard to make Erica into an Eric, quite honestly. I love that she's this kind of character and also a woman, personally, but her gender has little to do with who she is or what she does.

And yes, there is some intentional parallels to noir and crime thriller tropes. That is our genre here, after all.

Also--the moment of Scott's death isn't all there is to the game, either. There are tons of puzzles and twists that come long after that moment, most of which are unrelated to it. So I do think it's a shame that someone would judge the whole game on that one moment.

I won't say there aren't some cliches in the game, there are. But there's also a lot more to it and I think we rise above the cliches that are there as well.
Title: Re: Episode 1: Feedback and Thoughts
Post by: Cez on November 26, 2012, 02:57:26 PM
They are comic book characters. Erica is in a way more developed than the rest, since she's our main character, but everyone else tends to be more the comic book version of what that character would be in real life. Some of them will see more development over the story, however.

The most conventional way to develop characters is to spend more time with them. To talk about their personal lives, to show the side beyond the cliché. We didn't want to add tons of dialog (maybe a reaction to TSL :P), so we kept it simple.
Title: Re: Episode 1: Feedback and Thoughts
Post by: Lambonius on November 26, 2012, 04:10:14 PM
Yeah, it's just episode 1.  If the characters still seemed one-dimensional by the last episode, it'd be a different story.  Like I said, I noticed the cliches, but they came off as intentional nods rather than just hackneyed writing.  That's my backhanded way of saying they worked for me, by the way.  ;)
Title: Re: Episode 1: Feedback and Thoughts
Post by: KatieHal on November 26, 2012, 06:21:47 PM
LOL, we'll take it. Maybe use it as a selling point. "Even Lamb likes it!" :P
Title: Re: Episode 1: Feedback and Thoughts
Post by: GrahamRocks! on November 26, 2012, 07:37:14 PM
And if Lambonius likes it, then it MUST be good!
Title: Re: Episode 1: Feedback and Thoughts
Post by: agewisdom on November 27, 2012, 09:40:34 AM
Hi all,

As a long time adventure game fan, I was starving for a good mystery/thriller adventure games like Gabriel Knight and Laura Bow. I didn't know what to expect when starting to play Cognition but it was so good, that I had to post here and say GREAT WORK! Although the amount funded via Kickstarter was quite modest, you've done a really fantastic job! I really hope we'll get many, many, many episodes to come...

However, even though the game was great - for future episodes, my own personal wish-list would be as follows:

1. Time Progression

For episode 1, it's fine that the entire investigation takes place in a single day. However, it would seem very forced and ridiculous if this happened for episode 2 as well. Breaking up the investigation into segments like days would be more believable. To avoid potential dead ends and endless backtracking, something similar to the system used in Grey Matter would be ideal.

2. Deeper level of investigation and legwork

Most of detective leg work was done by the "Wise Monkey"(guessing here!) in episode 1 and Erica mostly just followed up on the clues left by her.

I suppose if Antony Longmore wasn't killed, Erica would have done a lot of investigative work to correlate all these different cases together and find out who was the serial killer. Hopefully, future episodes will have Erica actually working on a single case and finding out the links to other unsolved cases and discovering a serial killer. This could involve trying to narrow the different suspects and pinning the culprit with various pieces of evidence obtained. I definitely got a Laura Bow vibe from the final conversation with Sully. :)

3. Companion NPCs and relationships

Hopefully, there are more flashbacks or a deeper level of conversation with the companion NPCs. Understandably, since episode 1 takes place in a single day, there's not much space to flesh out these characters. But for future episodes, I think more can be done to make the player care and be concerned about these characters.

4. CSI tools
Hopefully, future case investigation makes use of other forensic tools and autopsies as well. This could be slightly more in depth. Erica's cognition abilities could be used when there's a gap to be filled but it should be used sparingly.

5. Cognition lore

The whole psion lore could be explored further similar to Gabriel Knight's Schattenjäger heritage. It would be great to find out why Erica has these powers and whether this led to her younger brother's death. Perhaps dad can shed some light on this. This could permeate throughout future chapters and explored in depth in one of the final or latter chapters. Perhaps the Cain killer is a psion as well and Erica needs to find out how to combat his powers.

6. Journal/Diary/Case File system

Since episode 1 was a simple investigation, the lack of this system wasn't really felt. However, if Erica gets involved in a tough investigation with multiple suspects and witnesses, things could get a bit dicey. Having a system to organize these facts will be a necessity if the cases (hopefully!) get more complicated.

They could comprise of:
(a) A relationship diagram of how they are related to the case
(b) Short bio and facts of each witness/suspect
(c) Evidence or clues pertaining to each suspect

There's a Japanese visual novel Kara no Shoujo that had a system like this which was quite useful at times.

7. Scale system on Investigations (vs. Binary)

Hopefully, there will be a scale system for future investigations rather than just a forced fixed path. By this, I mean if Erica picks up most of the clues and correlates most of the evidence correctly (say >80%), then her investigation will be successful. If she gets between 50-80%, she gets a less than ideal ending. If she gets less than 50% right, she should get a bad ending. This would be better than forcing the game to stop and asking players to retry until they get a correct solution. More organic, don't you think?

Anyways, these are just some of my thoughts whilst playing this great game. I just think that if future episodes grow more complex, some elements of the interface and game design needs to change to cater for this.

All the best and eagerly awaiting episode 2!
Title: Re: Episode 1: Feedback and Thoughts
Post by: KatieHal on November 27, 2012, 10:54:00 AM
Thanks agewisdom! That's some detailed feedback there :) We do play a little fast & loose with how much time passes during the episodes, and there are a variety of reasons for that--from plot reasons to budget ones--and in some cases, how much time is passing matters a little more than at others (and with that I'm referencing future episodes as well as Ep 1).


Also--did you intend to have your username be your email address? If not, I can change that for you. Let me know in a PM if you'd like it changed and what to change it to if so.
Title: Re: Episode 1: Feedback and Thoughts
Post by: snabbott on November 27, 2012, 02:59:15 PM
LOL, we'll take it. Maybe use it as a selling point. "Even Lamb likes it!" :P
...and sales shoot up by orders of magnitude... :P
Title: Re: Episode 1: Feedback and Thoughts
Post by: Lambonius on November 27, 2012, 03:23:26 PM
I'd be happy to sign on to POS as the official back-of-box quote writer.  Just let me know.
Title: Re: Episode 1: Feedback and Thoughts
Post by: Say on November 28, 2012, 11:36:58 AM
Lambonius, always providing such fascinating flavor to threads. I may become a fan.
Title: Re: Episode 1: Feedback and Thoughts
Post by: snabbott on November 28, 2012, 12:07:33 PM
I'd be happy to sign on to POS as the official back-of-box quote writer.  Just let me know.

"It doesn't suck."
-Lambonius
Title: Re: Episode 1: Feedback and Thoughts
Post by: Lambonius on November 28, 2012, 04:26:16 PM
I'd be happy to sign on to POS as the official back-of-box quote writer.  Just let me know.

"It doesn't suck."
-Lambonius

Hahaha...how about this:

"Better than TSL!"
-Lambonius
Title: Re: Episode 1: Feedback and Thoughts
Post by: Say on November 29, 2012, 01:13:25 PM
This is by far, the best input I've had so of course I'm sharing. This is one of the emails I got this week:

"The protagonist should be asian...with really big breasts...named Aiko or something. And she has a twin sister who goes to a private college that has uniform requirements."

I just love my friends :P. I sent him the Cognition email about a month ago and he finally replied to me with that thing. Well, on his defense the poor guy was shipped to China and there's the whole defending your country thing, and all. Details, details.

But it is very interesting how it's been accepted outside an adventure gaming genre. Most of the people I get to interact with have never even played one adventure game in their (short) lives, yet they seem to enjoy the game.
Title: Re: Episode 1: Feedback and Thoughts
Post by: KatieHal on November 29, 2012, 03:32:12 PM
LOL! While I appreciate his playing the game and giving feedback, I suspect this was not the game he was looking for. ;)
Title: Re: Episode 1: Feedback and Thoughts
Post by: Say on November 29, 2012, 04:22:09 PM
Crazy talk, woman.

Cognition is the game for everyone. It's the perfect Christmas present for everyone  <3
Title: Re: Episode 1: Feedback and Thoughts
Post by: Big C from Cauney island on November 29, 2012, 05:54:50 PM
This is by far, the best input I've had so of course I'm sharing. This is one of the emails I got this week:

"The protagonist should be asian...with really big breasts...named Aiko or something. And she has a twin sister who goes to a private college that has uniform requirements."


But it is very interesting how it's been accepted outside an adventure gaming genre. Most of the people I get to interact with have never even played one adventure game in their (short) lives, yet they seem to enjoy the game.

  If you make the game this person described, I will buy it. However, I think he was not thinking about video games.  On a serious note, I will say that you guys are getting great reviews.  Someone had mentioned in a previous post that it would be interesting to have some sort of an evidence notebook, kind of like dagger of amon ra.  I think you can already take notes in the cellphone in the game,  However, I do thinks it's cool to have to guess "who done it" and put evidence together. Again, great job on the episode. You deserve the credit and recognition you are getting.
Title: Re: Episode 1: Feedback and Thoughts
Post by: snabbott on November 30, 2012, 09:28:44 AM
I'd be happy to sign on to POS as the official back-of-box quote writer.  Just let me know.

"It doesn't suck."
-Lambonius

Hahaha...how about this:

"Better than TSL!"
-Lambonius
Coming from you, wouldn't that be the same thing? :P

Crazy talk, woman.

Cognition is the game for everyone. It's the perfect Christmas present for everyone  <3
*waves hand* This is the droid game you are looking for.
Title: Re: Episode 1: Feedback and Thoughts
Post by: billleeb1 on December 15, 2012, 05:24:01 AM
Just want to post my few comments. :) :)
I am a really big fan of the Gabriel Knight series since the first part.
I was totally fascinated by Gabriel Knight 2 and after that every adventure game has to compared against.
So if i read that Jane Jensen will assist story-writing i was very enthusiastic.
My expectations were very high for Gray Matter but even if the game begins very interesting it ends up a Little boring and my expectations for cognition fells down.
But what should i say... i bought the season pass and started to Play the first Episode.
I was totally fascinated... the first game that stands against my favorite adventure game :)
so congratulations for this fascinating first Episode. The Story and the whole athmosphere is nearly perfect and can't wait to Play the second part. And with Moebius in the development Phoenix Online will have my Support for the next time :-) ... last comments to the outstanding Soundtrack capabilities of Robert Holmes. He only creates such a deep athmosphere !!

Title: Re: Episode 1: Feedback and Thoughts
Post by: KatieHal on December 15, 2012, 08:07:22 AM
Thank you so much billeeb! As big GK fans ourselves, that really does mean a lot to us!

Robert did indeed do a fantastic job on "The Taking", though I must give props to our in-house composer Austin Haynes who did most of the soundtrack (as well as the soundtrack to TSL). He's such a talent!
Title: Re: Episode 1: Feedback and Thoughts
Post by: Göran on December 19, 2012, 05:44:41 AM
Hi, I'm a little late for the party but I completed Episode 1 the other day. Overall I had a great experience, so first of all I want to congratulate you on a job well done! From what I could see from your Kickstarter you were on a very tight budget as well which makes it even more impressive. I also wanted to give some feedback, so here goes:

Things I liked

* The music! What a composer you have, its some of the best music I've heard in a game! I also liked how he used some classical elements. By the way what is that classical piano piece he used in the morgue scene? I really recognised it but can't place it... Anyway, please dont let go of Austin ;)

* Intriguing plot! I loved the plot twist and how some elements (like where Cordelia fits in) are left for future episodes.

* Overall strong voice acting. Especially Raleigh Holmes was spot on as Erica!

* Cognition abilites worked really well. I love how Erica just started out with post-cognition and learned more as the game progressed.

* Detective puzzles! I loved the puzzles in this episode where I felt like a detective. They make me feel smart and I want more of that ;D For example:
  - Figuring out the combination for the safe.
  - Searching the FBI database for clues on old cases.
  - Searching Longmores apartment overall was enjoyable.  
  - Like Laura Bow, trying to make the correct conclusions at the end of an investigation.
  - Finding out the date for Roberts memory.

* Good hint system. Just enough nudges to point me in the right direction.
 
* Beautiful background art! The graveyard was especially atmospheric.

* I really liked Erica and rooted for her! And in defense of Terence, I liked him too! It's good to have a more light hearted character in such a grim setting.
    
Things I didnt like

* Some annoying puzzles. While most old Sierra adventures had them, I have never liked puzzles that dont make sense, puzzles which the character would never experience in "real life". If these puzzles are in the game just to increase game time then I'd prefer if you'd cut them out to create a shorter but more pleasant experience. Below are specific examples.

  - Robert does not want to talk, he is hungry. Donuts don't work for him. I leave to pick up an old egg sandwich by my desk. He then tells me he's not THAT hungry. I leave again to pick up crisps for him. After that he wants the donuts!! By that time I was ready to punch him in the face ;)

  - The police office has gotten rid of all their tape recorders!! Instead I have to leave my interrogation (again!) and drive to the morgue to steal a recorder from the coroner, since she's so stiff she doesnt want to lend it for a murder investivation! It just becomes ridiculous.    

  - Breaking into Davies' office just like that. Although I think it fits Ericas character to do whatever is necessary to solve the case, it should have been made more clear that Davies didnt answer her phone and that breaking into her office was the only option. When I tried to call her on my phone I only got "I don't need to call her right now" which was laughable.

* The game was a little rough around the edges. With some polish it would have been an even better game. People have mentioned loading times and such. But other, smaller things also add to the game experience in my opinion. For example I felt bad that I couldn't return the lighter to John after I had borrowed it. ;)

* Some plot holes. Why go through all the trouble of hiding the victim's identity when the killer left other clues and obviously wanted Erica to figure things out?

* Stiff faces. I guess I'm spoiled after playing games like Heavy Rain. It would be nice if you are able to improve facial animations for future games though.

Complaints aside I really enjoyed Cognition and look forward to future episodes. Keep up the good work, you've got a fan right here!
Title: Re: Episode 1: Feedback and Thoughts
Post by: KatieHal on December 19, 2012, 07:43:41 AM
Thanks for all the feedback Goran! And welcome to the forums :)

Ahh, to be able to do animations like Heavy Rain...that's the dream! Someday, maybe. Though I really do think our Cinematic Artists (those are the folks who put together conversations, etc, by selecting emotions, expressions, animations, and so forth for the lines) have only gotten better as we've gone along and I think Episode 2 will show that improvement. :)
Title: Re: Episode 1: Feedback and Thoughts
Post by: Göran on December 19, 2012, 07:57:39 AM
Thanks for welcoming me Katie!

I got Cognition since I'm backing Moebius and heard from Jane that you are developing it. As an old adventure fan I can't believe I've missed your games until now! I plan to rectify this mistake and play through the Silver Lining episodes as well  :D
Title: Re: Episode 1: Feedback and Thoughts
Post by: Say on December 19, 2012, 03:03:39 PM
That name... are you from Steam, by any chance? D:
Title: Re: Episode 1: Feedback and Thoughts
Post by: Göran on December 20, 2012, 01:19:38 AM
That name... are you from Steam, by any chance? D:

Yes, Guran75 on Steam would be me!
Title: Re: Episode 1: Feedback and Thoughts
Post by: Say on December 21, 2012, 03:13:44 PM
Helloooo and welcome to the forums! I was the one who emailed you for the Thanksgiving Giveaway :D

Göran is one of our winners! (So is Stika around here). So glad to see some Steam frands around here <3


Thank you so much for your detailed feedback - I absolutely loved the idea of the facial expressions. And I completly agree with Katie, I see some of the goodies for the next episode and Cognition team just keeps getting better and better by the day. Hope you heard the good news and do know that we're releasing Episode 2 on January 30th! :D

Title: Re: Episode 1: Feedback and Thoughts
Post by: GrahamRocks! on January 07, 2013, 05:13:10 PM
I know I said this already, but after watching Toegoff's LP of Cognition, I am VERY impressed with everything! The visuals are comicbook-like, the voices are really good, the puzzles are clever, the humor is good (especially terence using the Thief Sign from QFG. I loved that!) and when it gets serious I can FEEL it! For example, the opening prologue in the graveyard, in both the livestream demo Toe did and the LP itself, I could feel my heart pounding as the scene progressed, especially since during the livestream, because my internet kept cutting out on me, leaving me in suspense (especially when I saw the reactions to what I didn't see in the comments).

And I'm just watching a Let's Play. In ONE SITTING no less! It was nearly midnight by the time I was done and I was exhausted, but it was ALL WORTH IT!

I have TWO questions however:

1. When Erica is training her powers to reach back into peoples memories and help recover them, we see a scene from her own memories where she's seeing Scott in "that stupid striped jacket". The one thing that confused me about it was the image used for Scott- it's his gentle smile... during the "Bad Ending" (which I actually DID see in the livestream, and actually let out a saddened "Oh..." at) and Erica says tearfully that he "knew that I'd failed". Only... Erica technically DIDN'T fail! In the ending where Erica manages to solve the puzzle, she unties him and they hobble out and Scott dies a few minutes later in her arms. We never saw that gentle smile "panel" in the ending where they get out, so... does that mean the "Bad Ending" where he DOES get stabbed by the trap is actually the CANON way to go?

2. Toegoff didn't save Davies in his LP, and both he and I were wondering is it actually possible to save Davies?
 
Title: Re: Episode 1: Feedback and Thoughts
Post by: KatieHal on January 07, 2013, 06:47:50 PM
Well...

1) In the Bad Ending, she does fail. You get that one if she doesn't disarm the trap; that's what she's referring to. In the Good Ending, we don't see that precise panel, no, but to help the player there, Erica has an email from her father talking about those last moments--so while it's not seen, the idea is that she did see a calm look on his face before he died still.

2) No, it's not possible to save Davies.
Title: Re: Episode 1: Feedback and Thoughts
Post by: GrahamRocks! on January 07, 2013, 06:58:47 PM
Oh, you mean when they show the "Don't worry Scottie, we're gonna get out of here!" panel?
Title: Re: Episode 1: Feedback and Thoughts
Post by: KatieHal on January 07, 2013, 07:32:22 PM
Yeah, around there, since we know the look comes when he's still on the table.
Title: Re: Episode 1: Feedback and Thoughts
Post by: GrahamRocks! on January 12, 2013, 11:42:43 PM
Okay, one more question.

The Eclipse. I read somewhere on here that it would be important, and I was wondering how that would be so, since it appears frequently in the ads for Cog 1. It was there in the prologue, but unfortunately, Toegoff never looked at it which bugged me as I was wondering what it said and significance it had.
Title: Re: Episode 1: Feedback and Thoughts
Post by: MikPal on January 13, 2013, 07:58:55 AM
Okay, one more question.

The Eclipse. I read somewhere on here that it would be important, and I was wondering how that would be so, since it appears frequently in the ads for Cog 1. It was there in the prologue, but unfortunately, Toegoff never looked at it which bugged me as I was wondering what it said and significance it had.

Icecream?
Title: Re: Episode 1: Feedback and Thoughts
Post by: NinjerTartle on January 13, 2013, 09:35:27 AM
I just finished Episode 1 after downloading it last night, and let me start by saying "Thank you!".


I thoroughly enjoyed the experience, and even if there might be one or two small "buts" on my list I still found it to be quite refreshing on the whole. First off, the narrative is very solid. And the fantastic backgrounds and somber, yet beautiful, soundtrack helped in creating a game that I very much want to continue playing and see where the story gets me. It might just be the point-and-click adventure game geek in me, fueled by a sense of wonderful nostalgia towards the scene, but it actually felt so good to get a story-driven game like this in front of me for a change. Granted, there have been similar games produced every now and then, like Gray Matter, but this was probably the first in a long time to give me that "authentic" feeling of The Good Ol' Days as we nostalgic bastards probably like to call it. So on the whole, thank you very much indeed!

Then on to some brief pointers;

-loading times: Yes, they might have been on the longer side of the spectrum (probably cause I played it on my laptop that is about to go to the Great Component Pile in the Sky any day now, and barely has what it takes to run this game), but they were by no means as frustrating as they have been in some other games. And sometimes taking it slow is not only not gonna kill you, but might actually add to the atmosphere. A slower paced game (even if it to some extent is caused by time taken to enter/exit menus and scenes in the game) can be rewarding and even help you get into a sort of calm that helps you come up with the solutions you need for a puzzle. At the very least it didn't get me all riled up.

-the puzzles: I have seen it argued that the puzzles were both too hard and too easy. Personally I guess I'm lucky enough to hang out in the middle of the ground; Some of them were very easy indeed, especially I guess if you're familiar with the genre. Some on the other hand gave me more of a challenge, but I think they were all logical and there were no "give that monkey a brick and a bottle of ketchup so that he breaks into a musical number that's needed to open the door you didn't realize was behind the cupboard" type of puzzles you sometimes see. One of my favourite puzzles in the game was probably the interrogation room scene. I also think the use of Reed's powers opens up for some very interesting puzzles, and I was a bit disappointed that it wasn't used more. But perhaps in the coming episodes there will be more?

-the interface: on the whole I liked the use of the mouse, even though I might agree with the people who got frustrated over the amount of clicks needed to do certain actions. Also, with later generation games in this genre, like this, the cursor/mousey-interface/whatever sometimes reveals too much. Or well, perhaps not "too much" but it gives vital clues, even when you don't want them. For instance, after a certain point in the game when you talk to the forensics guy, you don't have the option to use/give items. Therefore, you know that if you find a clue somewhere, you're not supposed to bring it to him. It's a bit of a shame, since it might make some of the puzzles too easy, even. Not sure if I can explain what I mean clearer than that.

-bugs/glitches: I think I managed to avoid all the known major bugs, so no complaining about that for me. Sometimes the walking animation bugged and hopped around a little, notably in Rose's store, but that might have mostly been caused by Ol' Lappy, as mentioned earlier.

-other: The game did feel a bit short. Yes, it's only the first episode, but it still felt like there should have been a little more to play. It sort of felt like you got cut short just when you started to fully get into the atmosphere. And after Longmore's apartment and the Meeting House puzzle, the end felt a bit abrupt. On the other hand, I guess that's a good way to ensure that we get the next episode(s) too. =)

-for the future: I will definitely get the next episode, but like someone mentioned earlier I was also curious if there might be something like an "upgrade" season pass for those of us who got the first episode? The interface could maybe do with some light tweaking too. And for the love of all that is holy, don't under any circumstance feel obligated to put one of those "impossible maze" puzzles that makers of adventure games have loved to torment gamers with. Nobody likes those. Nobody. Not a single soul on this planet has enjoyed one of those puzzles. I'm looking at you, The Legend of Kyrandia.

Aaaanyway, that was my 2 cents in the form of a novel. Keep up the good work, and I'm looking forward to the next episode!
Title: Re: Episode 1: Feedback and Thoughts
Post by: KatieHal on January 13, 2013, 10:14:47 AM
GR: The eclipse was important in the game that we acquired assets from, which were then used to create Cognition. That game, ("We Are Darker"), had a plot that revolved around it that did not fit into our game. But the eclipse looked really pretty in some of the scenes, so we kept it in a few places for artistic reasons.

NinjerTartle: Welcome to the forums! Love your name! :D

And thank you for the detailed feedback! Yeah, loading times will definitely relate to your computer's specs and the setting you play it on, we've done what we can to streamline it though. Haha, and while manny would call the streets of Boston itself an insane and impossible maze (bah!), there are no plans to include actual mazes in this game. ;)

We do plan to have some kind of pricing for 'upgrading' to a season pass, but what that price will be has not been set just yet. Keep an eye out for it as we get closer to Episode 2's release, though! 
Title: Re: Episode 1: Feedback and Thoughts
Post by: MikPal on January 13, 2013, 11:27:26 AM
artistic reasons

Or symbolistic (it's literally an eye at some points).
Title: Re: Episode 1: Feedback and Thoughts
Post by: MakeMonroe on January 27, 2013, 05:18:24 AM
I must be honest. I pirated the first episode after hearing it’s bit similar to Gabriel knight games but because beginning of the game was already so amazingly good I bought the whole season from gamersgate. It was also my first downloadable game that I have ever bought so couple of hours just went searching information about how I pay downloadable games and reading about my rights if something happens.  I’m always been a huge fan of Gabriel knights series and also loved grey matter so i had to support you guys and buy the game. It should also tell something that I bought whole season pass right away and not only one episode. I truly hope that this will be a success and you’ll make another season.  Another reason why I bought this was because I got scared that what if people don’t buy this great series/game so I felt that I truly need to support you guys with my money and hope also that the others do the same and later because of our support we can see another amazing season. Thank you so much what you have done and sorry about that I first pirated your game. eh.   I’m about halfway to finish the first episode now so second episode will come just in time : ) . Finnish Fan.
Title: Re: Episode 1: Feedback and Thoughts
Post by: stika on January 27, 2013, 05:45:42 AM
I must be honest. I pirated the first episode after hearing it’s bit similar to Gabriel knight games but because beginning of the game was already so amazingly good I bought the whole season from gamersgate. It was also my first downloadable game that I have ever bought so couple of hours just went searching information about how I pay downloadable games and reading about my rights if something happens.  I’m always been a huge fan of Gabriel knights series and also loved grey matter so i had to support you guys and buy the game. It should also tell something that I bought whole season pass right away and not only one episode. I truly hope that this will be a success and you’ll make another season.  Another reason why I bought this was because I got scared that what if people don’t buy this great series/game so I felt that I truly need to support you guys with my money and hope also that the others do the same and later because of our support we can see another amazing season. Thank you so much what you have done and sorry about that I first pirated your game. eh.   I’m about halfway to finish the first episode now so second episode will come just in time : ) . Finnish Fan.

I'm glad you bought and enjoyed the game so much  MakeMonroe :D

Episode 2 is going to be launched in three days, so you'll have more Cognition goodness to play soon  :)
Title: Re: Episode 1: Feedback and Thoughts
Post by: riker1 on February 01, 2013, 04:58:45 PM
I loved the game as well. The only thing I missed was some good logic puzzles. I enjoy them much more than trying to figure out which objects go together or what sequence of events are needed in order to reach a goal. I don't really consider them "puzzles" of the sort that challenge the player's puzzle solving ability; they are simply hunting for the correct sequence to advance you through the game. Consider this my request for some more intriguing puzzles. Although, I thought the interrogation section was a very cool way to integrate puzzles into the story line. Very creative!
Title: Re: Episode 1: Feedback and Thoughts
Post by: Guyra on February 11, 2013, 10:20:11 AM
I just played through the first episode, and I want to mention that I noticed all the same things as Göran mentioned in his post. I hope that some of these things will at least be fixed in future updates. In addition, I can mention a bug where Sully, when checking out the floor in Longmore's apartment, suddenly was poking about in Longmore's "bed" instead every time I visited after that. (His hot spot area was still in the correct place, though.) It was kind of funny, because he looked a bit like a creep. "Yeah, yeah, just give me some time with this ... this sweet, smelly, dirty mattress ... " :P But hopefully you'll figure out why this happens and fix it in an update.

Other than the things Göran pointed out, and that bug there, I enjoyed the game a lot! I do hope for more scenes as thrilling as the intro part though, because that's probably the most intensity I've ever felt when playing an adventure game, ever. And I've played a lot. ;) With just a little more polish, some minor bugs removed, and some logic errors fixed(food for Robert, not being able to give McCoy donuts, or his lighter back, could've used stones on the pressure plate in the beginning, etc.), this could've certainly been in my top 5 list of adventure games ever. It still ranks quite high, though! :D

In any case, I'm looking forward to playing the next episodes! I hope for more scenes as intense as the opening scene though, which was a work of art! ;)
Title: Re: Episode 1: Feedback and Thoughts
Post by: KatieHal on February 11, 2013, 04:03:35 PM
Hi Guyra--nice to see you back on the forums! :) LOL, if that's what Sully's up to, no wonder he's having so much trouble getting Erica to commit :P He's got no game!

Thanks for the feedback, though, and glad you liked the game! Thank you! I hope you enjoy Episode 2 just as much (and 3 and 4 when they're out, of course).
Title: Re: Episode 1: Feedback and Thoughts
Post by: Guyra on February 12, 2013, 02:39:26 AM
Thank you, and for your help the other day. :)

Hahaha, yes, indeed! I wish I'd taken a screenshot of that. ;)

I'll probably start Episode 2 up today, and I'll let you know my thoughts on that as well as soon as I'm done. :D


Edit: Oh, and one more thing! I really like the characters. I become interested in them. They feel real, and you can empathize with them. This is a really important part of storytelling in any medium, so good job on getting that one down! :D

(Oh, and please update the application icon for Episode 1, so it doesn't use the standard Unity Engine icon. :P )
Title: Re: Episode 1: Feedback and Thoughts
Post by: darthkiwi on February 12, 2013, 03:08:22 PM
Totally agree with Guyra about the characters. Although they're actually based off generic templates (Sully as the typical Boston guy, John as the stereotypical donut-loving cop) they know that they are and they love it. As a result, they feel like real characters who exist in the same world we do.
Title: Re: Episode 1: Feedback and Thoughts
Post by: Guyra on February 12, 2013, 04:00:04 PM
Although they're actually based off generic templates(...)

Quite true! But as I've seen in various other media as well, it's all about how you use these "generic" types. Even the most cliché type of character can become a good character, if you use him or her correctly - while more uncommon types of characters are not only hard to come up with, but also even harder to use correctly. A lot of it comes down to personality details and variation. Like how Erica can act all geeky with Terence, for example. You get to see a variation from her normal behaviour, and it's just a small detail of her personality - but it's so powerful in the way it makes the player see Erica as a person. Another similar example is how Gallagher, despite being generally quite stuck up, sometimes lets her guard down.

I feel that the characters in Cognition are mostly used correctly. :)
Title: Re: Episode 1: Feedback and Thoughts
Post by: KatieHal on February 12, 2013, 04:37:09 PM
We've gotten that feedback from a number of sources, actually--and it's kind of funny, because I think to us, the writers, we have these ideas of all the characters in our heads where they've totally got nuance and backstory, etc! ....but clearly we need to work on making sure more of that comes across on the screen, as it were. :) It's good to know for the future, though!

Though I still enjoy them all as they are, too. :)
Title: Re: Episode 1: Feedback and Thoughts
Post by: Cez on February 12, 2013, 06:52:42 PM
Thanks for the great feedback, Guyra!

I know it might not be super clear, but the reason why Erica doesn't use rocks on the pressure plate is because she knows Cain is watching her (there's a camera there, and in other places as seen by the camera panels that turn on), and she knows she must play by his rules if she's going to have any chance of saving Scott. She doesn't want to risk it by trying to trick the trap, not being sure if the trap really is demanding her blood, her weight, or any other thing pertaining to her exactly.

Like she tells John when he says "that's ridicoulous, he may not even be there right now" referring to the fact that he might not be watching the cameras, Erica replies "I'm not taking that risk".

Title: Re: Episode 1: Feedback and Thoughts
Post by: Cez on February 12, 2013, 06:58:13 PM
And yeah, on the topic of characters, it amazes me because although we were going for stereotypical because of the comic book look, like Katie, I also felt that I was giving them a more complex voice than reviews have made me believe.

I think the root of the problem is Erica herself, because she's a very complex character (probably the most complex character we've written so far), and so when put together with the rest, it shows.

I want to think that this is completely going to turn around in ep3 as we delve into the revelations of the heart of the plot :) There are some complex characters in this one, I want to think! :)
Title: Re: Episode 1: Feedback and Thoughts
Post by: darthkiwi on February 13, 2013, 07:59:16 AM
I've pretty much come to the conclusion that even the most complex characters are built up out of simpler elements. For example, Erica is pretty complex, but she's also sort of a mixture of

- driven cop
- empowered woman
- person with supernatural powers who is at first frightened/threatened by them but learns to use them for good
- person tormented by death of a family member
- sceptic of the supernatural
- no-nonsense professional

But when you put all that together you end up with a complex character. My point is not to show that Erica is actually shallow (she's not), but to argue that all the characters we think of as complex are often built up out of smaller, less complex bits. So it's ultimately not a bad thing to have a character who comes off an not complex; you just have to do more with them.
Title: Re: Episode 1: Feedback and Thoughts
Post by: KatieHal on February 13, 2013, 08:20:15 AM
I think it's kind of like how there "no new stories"--every story is a mix of what's come before it. Likewise there are rarely if ever new characters. But it's all about how you spin it and what touches you can add to make them stand out.

Also kind of a shame is that some characters were going to have more scenes, but we had to cut back on the script. There's actually an entire plotline I had to drop from Episode 2 that was really interesting, but we had to manage the scope better and work within the boundaries or our time, budget, etc. Some pieces of it are getting adapted for use in later episodes, though, so I'll be interested in seeing how it works out there.
Title: Re: Episode 1: Feedback and Thoughts
Post by: WildmanCAL on February 13, 2013, 11:27:13 AM
There's actually an entire plotline I had to drop from Episode 2 that was really interesting, but we had to manage the scope better and work within the boundaries or our time, budget, etc.

Care to tell us or could it appear in a "director' cut" version?  ;)
Title: Re: Episode 1: Feedback and Thoughts
Post by: waltzdancing on February 13, 2013, 11:43:03 AM
If not can you tell us what the extra plot was? Or will we see it in a future episode?
Title: Re: Episode 1: Feedback and Thoughts
Post by: KatieHal on February 13, 2013, 12:17:13 PM
I can't because it relates to future episodes still. But someday, definitely!
Title: Re: Episode 1: Feedback and Thoughts
Post by: darthkiwi on February 13, 2013, 02:21:22 PM
Re. the "no new stories" thing - yes, exactly! You put it better than I did. :P

It's always a shame when stuff has to be cut, especially when it's for budget reasons rather than quality reasons. But at least bits of it will get reused.
Title: Re: Episode 1: Feedback and Thoughts
Post by: dpolsrod on February 13, 2013, 06:47:39 PM
I haven't finished episode 1 yet, as I have not had time to play through it yet, but I am working on it as we speak, and I am really liking what I've seen this far. A few animation faults and a couple of glitches here and there, but nothing major.

Something I really like are all of the little "touches" scattered throughout the episode.
For instance, I smiled and laughed so hard when I saw the model names of the spray paint cans at the crime scene. ;)
A great tribute to the greats of old.
I also noticed that the first digit after the letters on almost all the cans are the appropriate sequel number for that particular title.
Good stuff guys. ;D

Now I have to get back to playing the rest of the episode and move on to episode 2. 8)
Title: Re: Episode 1: Feedback and Thoughts
Post by: Oldbushie on February 13, 2013, 08:37:57 PM
I'm glad you caught that! :D
Title: Re: Episode 1: Feedback and Thoughts
Post by: Guyra on February 14, 2013, 12:22:19 PM
@Cez: About the pressure pad thing, you are certainly right! For some reason, that just kind of disappeared from my mind while I was playing - probably because of the intensity of the scene. ;)

@darthkiwi: You are certainly right about what you say about characters, just like Katie and the "no new stories" thing. While there may be almost unlimited amounts of characters and stories one can create, there are smaller parts that make them up. And story telling through different mediums has been such a huge thing for the past half millennium or so, so I don't think there really are anyone alive that could come up with a something that is made up of parts that haven't been used before - unless you want to make something that wouldn't make any sense to another human being, that is. :P Sure, there are creations that are more "original" than others, but mostly that just means it's something that hasn't been seen for some time, so people have forgotten about the old, very similar creations.

@Dan: There you are! :D And yes, I love small easter eggs like that. Those that aren't, "in your face," if you will. The spray cans were really cool. ;)
Title: Re: Episode 1: Feedback and Thoughts
Post by: sebarnolds on June 20, 2013, 03:02:47 PM
Hi.

Sorry for being a bit late to the "party". I just finished episode 1 so I don't know if you got to improve some of these in the other episodes. Anyway, here is my list of annoying things:
- Now and then there are some weird or missing animations transitions
- Animations are very stiff / rough
- Characters seem a bit weird sometimes (graphically speaking), especially when they open their mouth.
- Sometimes voice lines can be skipped but not only. What is the reason for such behaviour ? It is quite annoying to be forced to listen to the whole tape while trying to figure the next move and toying with inventory items.
- Why am I obliged to buy something at the vending machine to hear Robert complain that he wants something sweet and THEN being able to offer him donuts I already tried to give him ? Generaly speaking, I think it is considered bad practice to force the player to follow such strict puzzle sequences without any reasons. I got the same problem at other times where I didn't know what to do and in the end I had to do something I already tried, but not at the "right time".
- Sarah's grave is next to Scott's ? Really ?
- When clicking on Boston main (where the morgue and the HQ are), yet undiscovered locations are shown briefly before disappearing.
- I think we could do without the "popup menu" when clicking on a location on a map (i.e. move directly to it without requiring the extra click).
- Story wa good, so were the dialogs and most of the puzzles. However now and then I was a bit lost as to what I should do next. Don't know how this could be improved though...
- What are all these loading screens ? This is really too long and annoying !!!

Seb
Title: Re: Episode 1: Feedback and Thoughts
Post by: KatieHal on June 20, 2013, 03:21:40 PM
Feedback always welcome! :)

Some of those are indeed things we worked on improving for the later episodes--I know load times improved, and I'm fairly certain we fixed other locations showing up too early on the map for that brief blink. And the animators have definitely been getting better all the time, too.

We also worked on making puzzles fit in better--the food one we heard that same feedback a lot about, for example.

And what? You didn't know there's only one cemetery in all of Boston? ;)
Title: Re: Episode 1: Feedback and Thoughts
Post by: sebarnolds on June 21, 2013, 12:33:06 AM
And what? You didn't know there's only one cemetery in all of Boston? ;)

I don't know Boston at all and it doesn't really matter, but, you could have put her grave a little bit further than Scott's one (put 1 or 2 between them). I know it would have been less practical as it would have been smaller. Anyway, that's not really important.

About the other stuff, I though you had made improvement for the next episodes. I'll be sure to install episode 2 soon.

Anything to say about the voice lines that cannot be skipped (e.g. the tape recording) ?
Title: Re: Episode 1: Feedback and Thoughts
Post by: Jack Stryker on June 21, 2013, 12:57:01 AM
Quote
For instance, I smiled and laughed so hard when I saw the model names of the spray paint cans at the crime scene. ;)
A great tribute to the greats of old.
I also noticed that the first digit after the letters on almost all the cans are the appropriate sequel number for that particular title.

Umm...

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=yqyixwqiCag
Title: Re: Episode 1: Feedback and Thoughts
Post by: KatieHal on June 21, 2013, 09:59:02 AM
Yeah, I was just teasing about the cemetery. We joke about that on the team sometimes actually--that's the only cemetery, Duffers' the only cop, etc. :)

Oh--lines that can't be skipped: usually that's animation-related, actually. We try to make them skippable as much as possible, but sometimes doing so does some screwy things, so we have to make them unskippable. It's another work in progress thing, we're trying to cut down on it as much as possible.