POStudios Forum

Phoenix Online Studios => Cognition => General => Topic started by: Say on February 15, 2013, 04:20:37 PM

Title: If you were Lead Designer for Cognition...
Post by: Say on February 15, 2013, 04:20:37 PM
... what would you have done differently in Ep1 and Ep2?

Do you agree with that's going on so far with the story? If not, how would you change it?

This is a serious question that I wonder about due to marketing purposes, so feel free to be as honest as you'd care for. Thank you!


**WARNING - THREAD MAY HAVE SPOILERS**
Title: Re: If you were Lead Designer for Cognition...
Post by: stika on February 16, 2013, 06:11:46 AM
haven't played Episode 2, but for Episode 1 I'd have removed the pre-interrogation puzzles you know, the one where the bum wants food, but apparently he still won't touch the egg sandwich or the fact that Erica doesn't even carry her wallet :P

Oooh also, it'd be fun if Erica had a pong-like game on her cellphone, or at least just more stuff to do

Heck, we could even put the POStudios forums on her cellphone :P
Title: Re: If you were Lead Designer for Cognition...
Post by: darthkiwi on February 16, 2013, 07:39:25 AM
Stika makes good points. I liked the interrogation scene generally, but felt there was too much to-ing and fro-ing. I like the fact that you *could* make him feel more at ease by giving him food, but it felt weird that you *had* to.

On the interface side, well I know people have complained about this but I feel like there are some things that were missed. (Bear in mind I've not played ep2 yet so if you changed anything there I don't know about it.)

Inventory: it felt strange that you had to "equip" one item and then use that in all "give/use" actions before you equipped another. I think a better way to do it would be to move the decision for which item to use into the "use/give" interface itself, like Gemini Rue does.

Also felt it was a little odd that there was a dedicated button for your phone but you could also access your phone via the inventory. I'd have just kept it in the inventory, but I can see why you put the extra button there. This isn't really a critique but more an observation.

Re. the cognition powers - I can see why you had the "open power > select target > activate power" interface structure, but I feel it could be reduced by a click here or there. Certainly, the very first cognition power could just be "open power > click target". I was also confused by the fact that there are different hotspots for different kinds of cognition powers; if all cognition hotspots were the same then you the interface could be "open power > click target(s) > select power to use" like in the full game, but would feel slightly more flexible - because the game wouldn't know which power you're using until the very end.

I also think that Erica's use of the internet/mobile devices made her feel more real to us, but that this was undermined by the fact that the internet didn't exist as such, it was just another area of gameplay. Same goes for the FBI computers: there should be thousands of files on there. But of course I have no solution for this, because the only way to fix this would be to create ALL OF THOSE THINGS. :o

Actually, I guess you could procedurally generate a thousand FBI files. That wouldn't be too tricky. The hardest part would be in making sure they don't conflict with the puzzles: if you're looking for someone who was stabbed to death in February 1992 then you'd need to make sure no procedurally generated files fall into that category, because you don't want to direct attention away from the one custom-made entry that you want the player to click.

Of course, that would take resources away from other areas and would have almost zero payoff, but I can dream. :P
Title: Re: If you were Lead Designer for Cognition...
Post by: Brain Stew on February 16, 2013, 10:00:59 AM
Aside from things that were already said, I think I'd have found something for McAdam's/Davies to do when they're in their office. They sure do stand around a lot. :)

I also think Episode 2, needed a little less "wait for a solution" style puzzles. For a game that anchors itself in realism. I find trouble believing Erica wouldn't find a screwdriver on her own without having to wait around for one to present itself in a PO Box.

I'd love to have the option of calling people whether Erica needed to or not and just having it go to voicemail if the person was unavailable.

Small details like other workers saying a greeting when you pass by their desks that's custom to where Erica is in the story.

And of course, I'd love to have seen Erica's apartment as a location.  If only so we get a glimpse into her outside work persona.

These are minor additions and nitpicks. I think the team is doing great overall. This is the most fun I've had with an adventure game in years.
Title: Re: If you were Lead Designer for Cognition...
Post by: Say on February 16, 2013, 11:50:52 AM
Kind of off topic but it must be said - I LOVE YOUR AVATAR BRAIN STEW D:


*continues to write down notes*

Go on, go on :D

I need all these notes before january 22nd, I mean...  February 2nd :P
Title: Re: If you were Lead Designer for Cognition...
Post by: WildmanCAL on February 24, 2013, 02:56:20 PM
I found it odd that when Erica went the dean's office at Berklee, there was no chair in front of his desk to have guests sit down.  The lack of that piece of furniture felt like it was the missing piece to that "set".
Title: Re: If you were Lead Designer for Cognition...
Post by: stika on February 26, 2013, 02:15:59 PM
oooh good eye there Wildman
Title: Re: If you were Lead Designer for Cognition...
Post by: Mr_Nabby on February 28, 2013, 05:06:50 PM
Yeah, I would also have liked to see Erica's apartment. It would be a great way to learn more about her, in many diffrent ways.

Something that would allow us to get to know more about Scott would be nice. We hardly know anything about him. Something like a photo album, a home video, or (I think I mentioned this somewhere else) Erica could have some text message, or a voicemail on her phone.

More dummy- and filler information on the computer and cellphone. I was kinda annoyed that when you had a search option at both places, NOTHING would show up if you used any of the categories that wasn't related to the puzzles. Just show something and if you click on it Erica says: "That isn't related to the case I'm working on." or "I don't have any use for that information."
Title: Re: If you were Lead Designer for Cognition...
Post by: Guyra on March 02, 2013, 07:00:58 AM
I agree with seeing Erica's apartment, that is something that could easily serve as a way of getting to know and care more about her as a character.

I also would've gone back to Episode 1 and polished it up a bit. It hasn't got nearly the same amount of polish as Episode 2 has got, and considering the fact that most players will try this game before getting the rest, I would say that having the same amount of polish that you see in Episode 2 is rather important.
Title: Re: If you were Lead Designer for Cognition...
Post by: KatieHal on March 03, 2013, 07:47:21 AM
We thought about showing Erica's apt, but in the end there wasn't anything we needed from there gameplay-wise. I agree, it would've been fun to see it, but it was just one of those design choices we had to make.

And Ep 1 definitely benefitted from both the team having already done Ep 1 and having more experience. I think you'll continue to see those kinds of improvements as we release Eps 3 and 4.

This Is great stuff, btw, thanks for the feedback, guys! Even if we can't incorporate it into Cognition, it's good to know what kind of things people want to see for future games.
Title: Re: If you were Lead Designer for Cognition...
Post by: Lambonius on March 03, 2013, 03:47:33 PM
I'm not sold on Erica's hair color.
Title: Re: If you were Lead Designer for Cognition...
Post by: GrahamRocks! on March 03, 2013, 07:55:43 PM
Got somethin' against redheads?
Title: Re: If you were Lead Designer for Cognition...
Post by: Lambonius on March 03, 2013, 08:26:23 PM
Got somethin' against redheads?

Ever since I saw that South Park episode about gingers...well, let's just say I keep my guard up.
Title: Re: If you were Lead Designer for Cognition...
Post by: KatieHal on March 03, 2013, 09:08:02 PM
Hehe, considering I'm a redhead, probably a good idea, whenever we inevitably meet in battle, Lamb. :)

(Having not seen that episode, I can't comment on that, though)
Title: Re: If you were Lead Designer for Cognition...
Post by: Lambonius on March 03, 2013, 09:37:00 PM
(Having not seen that episode, I can't comment on that, though)

Haha...you should look it up--it's a classic.
Title: Re: If you were Lead Designer for Cognition...
Post by: CriticalDamage on March 07, 2013, 04:33:28 PM
Well, so far the phone it's very limited. You just make one call if I remember correctly and there is a certain sense that you're the only agent working  :P that became somehow annoying in ep.2 due to the conmotion behind the current ep. and the ending of ep.1. Which it's probably a signature in games like this (the whole "you against the world" thing) but being a F.B.I agent should feel a little bit different than being George Stobbart  :P

It's not problem at all, like I said, but it would make it more real if you could, for instance, call Rose instead of going all the way there to see if she can teach you anything new.
Title: Re: If you were Lead Designer for Cognition...
Post by: stika on March 07, 2013, 04:44:40 PM
yeah the phone is a very common complaint :P
Title: Re: If you were Lead Designer for Cognition...
Post by: Jack Stryker on April 07, 2013, 12:58:39 PM
If I could, I would have done four things:

1.  Removed the unnecessary subtitles that appear when Erica reads emails.  It is already written right there on the computer screen, after all.

2.  Made it possible to take more items before Erica actually needs them and learn her new cog powers before they're needed, so as to cut down on the to-ing and fro-ing.  Although I can kind of understand her objection to the egg sandwich.

3.  Inserted a little montage after Erica first leaves Rose's shop.  First, it would show Erica in her car saying how she could stay up driving all night, but... yeah.  Then it would cut to the alarm clock going off and her hand hitting the off button, then her feet hitting the floor as she gets out of bed, then her arm reaching through the shower curtain and grabbing a towel off the rack, and conclude with Erica putting on her coat and grabbing her keys off her nightstand.

4.  Added some more ways to die or lose.  Not that I want to see her fail, but the game seems just a hair too easy, as there are very few ways to die and they're all so easily avoidable in obvious ways.  Thus, an entire episode can be easily played through from beginning to end, without having to use the save and load feature.  ...If one has the time to do so, that is.
Title: Re: If you were Lead Designer for Cognition...
Post by: br305893 on May 14, 2013, 08:34:59 PM
The main problems I have with the game are:

The phone-Like a lot of other people have said already, I wish the phone had more usable features. A mini-game or other such entertainment would go a long way.

The graphics-There are a few points in the game where I noticed little graphical errors. Like when Erica punches the file cabinet in the Dean's office, she basically misses the cabinet by a few inches. But of course, I'm really just nitpicking with that.

An opportunity to travel outside of Boston-One of the things I loved about GK1 is that you get to visit three completely different countries in the same game. I think it would be kind of cool if Erica got to take a trip elsewhere. Maybe even a side trip to Connecticut  ;D (My home state)
Title: Re: If you were Lead Designer for Cognition...
Post by: stika on May 15, 2013, 08:57:32 AM
I think we can all agree that what Cognition really needs is more fan service!

Dammit! I demand to see John wearing a bikini!
Title: Re: If you were Lead Designer for Cognition...
Post by: snabbott on May 15, 2013, 09:01:50 AM
I think we can all agree that what Cognition really needs is more fan service!

Dammit! I demand to see John wearing a bikini!
Be careful what you ask for - MikPal may draw it for you. :P
Title: Re: If you were Lead Designer for Cognition...
Post by: stika on May 15, 2013, 09:12:23 AM
If he does, I may just place it on our official Facebook Page :P
Title: Re: If you were Lead Designer for Cognition...
Post by: KatieHal on May 15, 2013, 09:23:49 AM
LOL, I was about to say the same thing, Snabbott!
Title: Re: If you were Lead Designer for Cognition...
Post by: stika on May 17, 2013, 03:18:58 PM
I still say he totally should
Title: Re: If you were Lead Designer for Cognition...
Post by: Tomatensaft on June 08, 2013, 03:37:26 AM
I think some kind of diary or log in the cell phone would have been good. Not a kind of diary that logs every single conversation but some of the basic points like
1: Serial Killer Antony Longmore: murdered in the same way he used to murder his victims. 3: Cordelia murdered out of revenge, Keith Smith is that Jeff Guy etc.


Apart of that I wouldn't have changed much. Maybe I would have changed some of the more realistic elements of the game. For example, it is of course realistic that a husband who believes that his wife didn't commit suicide but was murdered, and then spent a lot of energy in trying to convince the police, ends up as a homeless person on the street - but designing him as a now embittered and highly eccentric billionaire who sits alone in front of a fireplace, surrounded only by all kinds of baroque art he brought home from his travels would have also been fine for me.

Maybe I would have also added a scene at the Boston harbor / port - or
remove that Post office guy's apartment (where Sully is kept)
to the Harbor. But I guess this is the German tourist in me speaking: if I get a serial killer in a big American city I also want a scene at the port. At night. With big ships in the background, haha.

But alas, those are just two things that come to my mind now but they aren't actually important. Basically, I really loved the game and all of the decisions the designers have made. They also did a very good job on Ms Reed, I think. She reminded me a bit of a combination of Debra Morgan and Gabriel Knight.

I think one of the dangers with writing "strong female lead characters etc." is that they can turn out to be a bit boring, when the writers falsely presume that the opposite of a pathetic, one-dimensional woman whose job is just to get saved or to look hawt in her catsuit, is a caricature of strength that's just as one-dimensional: like Achilles without his vulnerable heel. Has anyone here seen "Dark Angel" with Jessica Alba? Started pretty good but after some episodes Alba's character was so totally superior to everyone else -physically and intellectually and even morally- that it really started to get boring. And of course this is especially true with characters who have some kind of super powers.

So - yeah: really liked Erica and the designers have done an awesome job. Maybe they could have added some additional things like, say, an over-average love for coffee or tea or a certain kind of music, etc. Some little eccentricities. Like Hannibal Lecter and his love for Bach's Goldberg Variations. Btw: La Boheme is an opera and not a song. :P Poor
Sully
=( and I thought she sung Ooo mio babbiiiiiiiino caaaaaaro.

Yeah. Sorry. I have some free days and was just in the mood to write something about the game I just finished. xD Very cool game! Really hope that you all will have success with your phoenix studios. =)

Edit: Oops. Spoilers ... right.
Title: Re: If you were Lead Designer for Cognition...
Post by: KatieHal on June 08, 2013, 08:17:44 AM
Hi and welcome Tomatensaft! And thanks for the feedback, we always appreciate it. Hmm, well, there is another episode to come, you never know..you might get that port scene yet...;)
Title: Re: If you were Lead Designer for Cognition...
Post by: MikPal on June 08, 2013, 01:50:37 PM
If I were the lead designer...

The story would be about Erica running around Boston trying to hunt down the serial killer, but all the FBI and friends stuff would be this mental world she has created around her while trying to fight a battle against her own humanized versions of gluttony (John), lust (Sully) and insanity(the Oracle). It's a cat and mouse game as Erica tries to keep her sanity, but at the same time is more than willing to work with gluttony and lust which make her life problematic.

In the end Erica would either be saved by accepting herself as she is by embracing her father's advice (she never knew her real father, so she created a perfect version in her head to guide her to the way she unconsciously wants to go)and dying of an OD in the street forgotten and alone (but happy) or embrace one of the three, that will take over her life and leave her in misery for the rest of her life.

All this because in the end, it was Erica who killed her brother by setting him on fire out of jelaousy.

And I would definately steal this for it.
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Vmn9asN-8AE
Title: Re: If you were Lead Designer for Cognition...
Post by: Mildred on August 14, 2013, 02:02:39 AM
Actually,i don;t know anything~~ :P :P :P
Title: Re: If you were Lead Designer for Cognition...
Post by: Deloria on August 22, 2013, 06:18:06 AM
I'd love some FBI-based puzzles la the fingerprint scanning thing in Gabriel Knight 3. :P