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Moebius Available For Pre-Order & Thoughts on the Demo?

Started by KatieHal, March 28, 2014, 08:11:05 AM

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The announcement went up yesterday--Moebius is now available for pre-order! And if pre-ordered now, you'll save 20% and get Robert Holmes' amazing soundtrack free!

That also means a demo is now publicly available. You can download it from the Phoenix Online site, as well as most retailers who are selling the game. We'd love to hear your thoughts if you've played it! :)

Katie Hallahan
~Designer, PR Director~

"Change is the constant, the signal for rebirth, the egg of the phoenix." Christina Baldwin

I have a blog!


I just got an email from GOG with Moebius listed as available for pre-order. :D

Steve Abbott | Beta Tester | The Silver Lining


Downloaded and beat the demo, quick thoughts.

The voice acting is generally good, with Rector critically being the standout performance.

Cutscene sequences are handled well.

Story was intriguing from what little was there.

Decent music from what little was in the demo.

Pretty easy, appealing interface.

Like the Sherlock-esque deductive options, though not sure how generally critical it will be to gameplay throughout the main game.

Seems to have multiple path options, though not sure how much it makes a difference ultimately.  Only tried one path in the demo myself.

Runs well at the highest settings for me(1600x900, Fantastic) and I have basically a low-to-mid level laptop.

Character response and animation on interacting with objects and people is very slow.  That would be ok if you could skip the animation somehow(typically a double-click like when just walking, which you can do).  However, it took me about 40 minutes to beat the demo, and probably half that time was just slogging through the animations.

Related to the above, some of the animations look a little goofy due to pathfinding.

The puzzles are ok, nothing particularly difficult in the demo, but the wire hanger bit is a little cheesy.  The man can jump or use his cell phone easily enough.

And related to that, while I like having some exploration, some form of quicker transportation would be good for stuff like going back to get the hanger.

Graphics are a mixed bag.  The character models don't have much in the way of detail but some of the objects do and the game does run smoothly.  The backgrounds alternate between sharp looking and being somewhat washed out.

The voice actor who plays Walker is a little streaky, with some of his lines coming across as choppy being the main issue, lacking the natural rhythm of conversation(which to be fair is hard to do in a game).

Couldn't exit the demo without shutting it down through Windows.  I'm running Windows 7 for reference.

I enjoyed the demo though it does have some technical issues.  Looking forward to the game!


Hi, I've just finished demo from GOG, v.

  Before I get to the bug report, let me say that I liked the overall production values of Moebius and I am very much looking forward to continue playing. The music is excellent, as is most of the voice acting, dialogues, deduction/analysis puzzles (though they have been kind of simple so far), and graphics.
  The biggest flaw of the game has been already discussed on the Internet and it is the same as in other 2.5D or 3D adventure games, including Cognition or Gray Matter. I'm talking about the sluggish animation loops. The response speed of the characters is usually very slow and the movement is often very stiff and unrealistic.
  The similar issue is with the facial animations. I understand that these are probably the toughest tasks to tackle, especially if you're building your code base from scratch. However, I believe that rudimentary character animations, particularly in story-driven adventure games, hurt the sense of immersion and atmosphere quite substantially, specially in dramatic and action scenes.
  I'll drop a few links here for your perusal:   
  Needless to say, I'm hopeful that we'll see improvements in this regard in future games, as indicated by the little we already saw from GK remake.
  Now let me recount various issues I found that might be worthy of a fix or an update for the full version, a patch, or your future games:
  (a part-time tester here, sorry for being pedantic :)
*** (probably) FIXABLE GUI ISSUES:
  1) I found the lack of the "Continue" option in the Moebius main menu noteworthy. I believe this option that simply loads the latest save has become a standard in adventure games a long time ago.
  2) In GUI, almost everything has tooltips - except for the action icons and menu items. Since some of them (why not all of them?) have keyboard shortcuts, it would be nice to have tooltips such as "Phone (P)" or "Operate (O)". I believe it would help new players to pick up the controls quicker, compared to reading the help screen which is kind of hidden from sight. These control tooltips could later be turned off in the options menu.
3) Would be nice to have keyboard controls enabled for dialogues - simple arrow keys for navigating and Enter for selecting.

4) When selecting radio buttons for options in deduction puzzles, it would be helpful if the text attached to a button was clickable just like the radio button itself. This is a more user-friendly behavior that does not require users to aim solely for the tiny circle.

5) In the same vein as 4), when researching candidate historical figures during an analysis, I did not understand why the whole portrait (save the minus icon) was not clickable to display information about the figure. Would be more convenient on a laptop screen.

6) By accident, I found that double-clicking fast-forwards the movement animation, which is cool. However, this trick is not mentioned in the help or any tutorial line.

7) The Ecs key should work as a universal "Back" button - to close inventory, phone screen, analysis window, etc. Clicking stuff (if it is not necessary) is slow and cumbersome on small screens or when using touchpad...

8 ) The subtitles contain minor issues. I noticed a missing full stop and inconsistently used dashes for separators (-, --, and —). Also, it is slightly more readable to highlight words with formatting (bold face, color) than to use various apostrophes, quote marks, and grave accents (also used inconsistently from what I've noticed).

I also noticed that one tutorial line in Venice was in white rather than yellow font, and that some tutorial lines were lead by "TUTORIAL:", others by "Tutorial:".

9) When solving a deduction/examination puzzle, the final analysis text almost blends with the data point hints and is kind of invisible, especially on a laptop screen. From what I've noticed, this text could be conveniently put to the left box with the picture, which contains a lot of free space. That way, a bigger font could be used and the text would be noticed by everyone immediately.

10) When doing an item examination, individual data points seem to be ordered in fixed order, sometimes causing the active data point to be out of sight in the right vertical bar. On the other hand, when a data point is visible, clicking the "?" icon duplicates the text on the screen. This could be resolved by always displaying the active data point on top of the right bar.


11) I found the Malachi character model a little odd. He's got very broad shoulders but is otherwise very skinny. And when he walks, his knees kind of move outwards which looks... weird.

12) I expected a comment line from Malachi when I clicked a person in his phone address book because the cursor got highlighted over the person's portrait. But there's no voiceover. For example, the player has no idea who is Prof. Reed and why is he in the phone from the start. Maybe this is a demo thing?

13) The "Combine" icon looks a little unintuitive. Reminds me of a "Store" action or something like that. I'd use two arrows or intersecting shapes. Similarly, the context "Use" icon looks needlessly complex. I'd use a cog or a spanner but not both (let alone the little nut).

14) The line "That would draw too much attention." was missing voiceover.

15) Brunetta's line directing Malachi to the bridge was noticeably louder than other lines in the game.

16) When the player is done reading help, there's nothing to cancel. I'd change "CANCEL" to "DONE" in the "How to play" dialog.

*** CONTINUITY ISSUES (minor spoilers):

17) When Malachi inspects the FITA flag, he doesn't seem to know what the acronym means. But previously he read its meaning aloud when trying to look it up online. (That look-up can be missed though)

18) While I'm nitpicking, in Bianca's desk, there's a notepad. Malachi calls it a notebook :).

19) When I open a drawer in Bianca's dresser, Malachi utters two lines - one about assortment, the other about oversized gloves. If you open the left drawer first, the second line doesn't make sense, and vice versa. Looks like the first line belongs to the left drawer and the second one to the right.

20) Malachi doesn't introduce himself to Gabriella over the phone but she later addresses him by his name. (Could someone tipped her off?)

21) While playing darts, I was actually able to adjust for the draft and scored more points than Salim, including a triple 18. But he then announced his victory anyway :)

Okay, I hope I haven't overdone it :)

Keep up the great work!



STORYTELLING! Damn but the story hooked me in, and that just playing the chapter-2 demo.
Characterisation is good, possibly even excellent (it's hard to tell in such a short time). Malachi is very much a likeable-but-flawed protagonist, and even without reading the prologue comic, you can get a sense that he has a past which has helped to shape what he is.
Walker is interesting, a bit of a puzzle (as Malachi himself decides). An opportunity for Malachi to show himself what sort of man he is. (No, I won't explain: spoilers, you know.) And yes, he also has both a past and a set of flaws of his own. Also likeable, and a foil for Malachi. They are very distinct personalities, but both likeable.
The five background characters you get in chapter 2 do seem to have come from the character warehouse; but they are very much bit characters. In a movie, they'd be either extras, or 'girl at hairdresser' types. No depth, but no need for it.
The plot - at this stage - seems to be character-driven, which is my preference. I don't yet know how much free choice we get in the plot, but even if we don't get much, I still enjoy a char-driven over an event-driven plot.

The prologue comic. More information about our protagonist's past, and hints as to the nature of the antagonist. Or maybe not the antagonist - maybe someone/something else. Hmmmm.

I like the interesting cinematic style for the cutscenes. It evokes Malachi's personality well, and his unique way of viewing the world. Also, that he is very much a visual person.

I am ... not a very aural person, so I won't make much comment on the music except to say that before I had to turn it down so I could hear the dialogue more clearly, it seemed to be atmospheric. (Yeah... sometimes I have to turn game music completely off, to hear dialogue clearly. At least I didn't have to for this one.)

So before I get to the cons; please know that yes, my family will be purchasing this game, and almost certainly in pre-order.

I put most of my criticisms in the tech support forum; not having noticed that regular users can actually post in here. Never mind, they're stuff the dev team needs to get anyway!

Charmer: the reason Malachi's shoulders look so broad is twofold. The first is that they're parallel to the ground. No human's shoulders are parallel to the ground: a line from the point of the shoulder to the base of the neck to the point of the other shoulder should be shaped like a coathanger. That's why coathangers have that shape.
He's also wearing a shirt with a yoke that's at least two sizes too large for him: a mistake that I cannot see Malachi choosing to make.
I think they must have a better Malachi model, however: his shoulders are properly shaped in the cutscenes, and some of his animations are better.

The problem with the facial animation seems to be a lack of flow and a lack of drag: each movement is in isolation, not one flowing into each other. As for drag: nothing pulls on anything else. The eyebrow doesn't drag the eyelid, the lip doesn't affect the nose or the cheek....

Edit to self-correct: there is drag, though I am not sure if there's enough, or if it's only partial, or what exactly is 'off'. It's too subtle for my amateur animation skills to pick up quickly. There may well be flow as well, but that I can definitely say that I'd try to add more, if I were the animator.
Sadly, the more realistic our modelling and animation becomes, the more we notice that things are 'off' or 'wrong'.  If a cartoonish face lacks flow or drag, we attribute it to the art style. If a realistic one does, we just know it's 'wrong' and gripe and complain, even if the animation is better than the cartoon one was.

I am completely in agreement with Charmer regarding the GUI options, especially those regarding usability for the disabled.
Please, when playtesting games, have at least some of the testers do so with muffling (not blocking, but muffling) earplugs or earbuds in; glasses with the wrong prescription so that everything is blurry or misshapen; a keyboard with some of the key contacts not working correctly (some are slow, some not responsive every press, etc); and the most annoying mouse or pointing device you can find.
This is to simulate being hard of hearing, having poor vision, and having shaky hands or hands that don't work well.

You'll find that you want - or rather, need - subtitles, large clear fonts, both mouse and keyboard options, and nice big hotspots in all your GUI elements. No tiny radio buttons, no, but hotspots that cover the button text as well. Or the image as well. Everything Charmer said, and maybe a little bit more!

The W3C has a lovely list of accessibility guidelines. While some of these apply uniquely to the 'web, most are applicable to all GUIs.

I haven't been as thorough as Charmer in the playtesting angle (whoever had him/her as a playtester got a bargain, no matter how much he was paid!). Still, I hope my comments have been helpful.


Thank you, Tazettae.

In fact, I mostly only reported relatively minor issues I thought could be realistically fixed even before the release on Apr 15.

For example, the team making Broken Sword 5 also offered a demo just a couple of weeks before the release of Episode 1 and they were fully prepared for quick respins on the master branch, i.e. to work in a lot of backer feedback.

Unfortunately, I missed the Moebius Kickstarter and could not chip in when Beta was released. Now, the feedback seems to be scattered and this thread in particular hasn't been getting as much attention I had hoped.

I'll head over to the Pinkerton Road forum (which sees more traffic) and ask there what are the devel plans at this point.


You're most welcome. I only just found this game myself: after the Steam change so that I could play my husband's games, he recommended Grey Matter. And when it turned out that I loved it .....

Just bought the pre-order, and started chapter 1. And ... yeaah. Without zoom, I had to lean in again to read the letter on Malachi's desk. Zoom please! With panning!

Edit to add: I think that between Charmer's comments and mine, we've covered the problems I found in the demo; except for two.

1. The cutscene in Dexter's office at the end of chapter 1 cut off abruptly, partway through Dexter's appeal to Malachi's patriotism. (Wrong country, dude).

2. In the same cutscene, the lip-syncing was significantly off.


Quote from: Tazettae on April 06, 2014, 12:08:41 PM
1. The cutscene in Dexter's office at the end of chapter 1 cut off abruptly, partway through Dexter's appeal to Malachi's patriotism. (Wrong country, dude).

2. In the same cutscene, the lip-syncing was significantly off.

That sounds to me like your computer is just having trouble processing the videos. If you wouldn't mind running DXDIAG on that system and then sending the results to me via Weldon (at) postudios (dot) com I could take a look through those results to see if I can spot anything that may be the cause.
Weldon Hathaway


I've since played the same cutscene successfully (as in, it completed), though the lipsyncing still seemed off.

DXDIAG on the way, however. I'll also check what graphics settings I have atm and include that in the email. I don't think I've changed them since the time the cutscene stopped early, but I could be wrong.

Thank you for reading through Charmer's and my commentary, btw. I truly appreciate it.


I like the game so far, it has very a Jane Jensen style I liked in Gabriel Knight series. Music is fantastic and not annoying, this is very positive, I'm currently playing the demo and looking forward to the whole game. So far I encountered just a small script bug.
In Venice at the bridge if you use the hotspot function, the hotspot for the old woman is shown who isn't there before you have spoken to the detective.


Well, it's the 15th.... here in Aussieland.  :wry:

The launch event is 4am tomorrow, my time.  Is that also when GOG will be releasing the game? Or can I download it at some hour that's daytime-ish or evening-ish for me? :)

(I'm UTC+10)

(Edit to add):
Well, it's evening-ish, and I'm installing. YAY and THANK YOU!


In the full game, I see that number 14 from my list above has been fixed.

I put the second part of issues I found to the Technical Support forum: