Author Topic: Is TSL Narrator the new Cedric?  (Read 52428 times)

Offline shadyparadox

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Re: Is TSL Narrator the new Cedric?
« Reply #120 on: July 29, 2010, 06:24:45 PM »
UPDATE:  oops, I just now saw the previous post, which says basically the same thing.  How ironic that it says the same thing as mine but with fewer words!!   :suffer:

I wouldn't think of the issue as "number" of narrations or even "amount of detail" in them, necessarily.  I think the writing style is the issue.  An experienced editor is needed to clean things up.  You could say the same things with fewer words.  

Don't see the point for an experienced editor.

Let's take a look at a couple examples.  Here's what we get when the player clicks on a chest outside the pawn shop.

"Graham's intuition as an experienced adventurer tells him there's nothing useful in there.  Somewhere, somewhow, some hand of fate decided that this chest didn't need to be opened or contain any items, almost as though by some grand cosmic game design."

This takes the narrator 18 seconds to say.  The same message, even with a self-aware joke thrown in, could have been delivered with less words.

The chest is locked.

Here's what happens when the player clicks on the shack near the ferry:

<he knocks>  "There's no one in it.  It would be just inhumane to have someone there in this foul weather.  But then Graham sees Hassan standing under the rain and thinks it may just be possible to get a ferry ride today after all."

This takes nearly 20 seconds.  The gameplay is stopped during that time and the player can only sit and wait... unless they click through.

Noone answers.

Some of the obvious observations the narrator makes are also a problem.  Here's one of those that is also too wordy:

"Graham would rather not be carrying anything touched by that evil stranger who cursed his children, but this thick, black cloak is his only clue.  Hopefully, it will help him discover the villain's identity."


Graham: This better be helpfull.


This is what most are referring to if they want it more like other kings quest, to I found the ones from TSL refreshing to be honest  ;)

Actually, your post makes a strong case that it does need an "experienced" editor. It needs someone that actually understands how concise yet descriptive narrations work, not someone sarcastically trimming it to the bone so that it says absolutely nothing interesting whatsoever.

For example,

"Graham would rather not be carrying anything touched by that evil stranger who cursed his children, but this thick, black cloak is his only clue.  Hopefully, it will help him discover the villain's identity."

could be changed to

"Graham would rather not carry anything that belonged to that evil stranger, but this cloak may be the only clue to his identity."

Still descriptive, but not unnecessarily wordy. We already know the stranger cursed Graham's children, the color and texture of the cloak can be described in the inventory window, and adding an extra sentence about "the villain's identity" is redundant because there's already the word "clue" in the previous one.
« Last Edit: July 29, 2010, 06:28:09 PM by shadyparadox »

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Re: Is TSL Narrator the new Cedric?
« Reply #121 on: July 29, 2010, 08:36:39 PM »
Well, a lot depends on personal style too. All the examples you listed, to me? Look just fine. But then, I was the Editor in Chief, so... :) Nor are the ones you listed even amongst the longer narrations that we have.

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Offline Lambonius

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Re: Is TSL Narrator the new Cedric?
« Reply #122 on: July 29, 2010, 10:10:42 PM »
Well again, it's not necessarily a matter of length in and of itself, but rather style as you said.  Some of those examples above are awkwardly written from a stylistic standpoint (and by style, I don't mean personal taste, I mean the type of thing that if you wrote it in a college level English paper, your teacher would immediately circle it in red and tell you to reword it.)  It's worth noting that these are the type of things that are often very hard to pick out if you're the one that wrote it.  That's why you should never proofread your own work--your brain automatically fills in gaps and makes sense of things that don't necessarily work as well on their own merits.  An editor or proofreader should always always be an objective third party who had nothing to do with the actual writing itself.   :)
« Last Edit: July 29, 2010, 10:12:20 PM by Lambonius »

Offline shadyparadox

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Re: Is TSL Narrator the new Cedric?
« Reply #123 on: July 29, 2010, 10:49:24 PM »
Well, a lot depends on personal style too. All the examples you listed, to me? Look just fine. But then, I was the Editor in Chief, so... :) Nor are the ones you listed even amongst the longer narrations that we have.

OK, let's try this one:

Quote
Graham takes a look at the tormented tree as its branches are mercilessly caught in a tug-of-war in the winds, to the point of looking like they might even be torn off.

The king can somehow relate: inside of him a wild storm has just begun to rage, harrowing his every nerve, at every inch of a man who has looked evil in the eye before and won, yet has never found a way to truly put it to an end for good.

For comparison, this is what was in the old demo:

Quote
A large oak tree spreads its shading branches out over the path.

I wouldn't say the second one is "better" by any means (and not merely because "shading" doesn't even make sense when the sun isn't out). Personally, I find the connection between the rainstorm and Graham's internal storm intriguing. However, the whole part about Graham never completely crushing evil has nothing to do with the tree. (That line could be used on another object, perhaps?) Furthermore, a shorter line that implies a subtle link would draw me in more than a full exposition on why the analogy makes sense. It would make me, the player, contemplate how it works instead of having it all spoon-fed to me.

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Re: Is TSL Narrator the new Cedric?
« Reply #124 on: July 30, 2010, 01:56:54 AM »

Actually, your post makes a strong case that it does need an "experienced" editor. It needs someone that actually understands how concise yet descriptive narrations work, not someone sarcastically trimming it to the bone so that it says absolutely nothing interesting whatsoever.

For example,

"Graham would rather not be carrying anything touched by that evil stranger who cursed his children, but this thick, black cloak is his only clue.  Hopefully, it will help him discover the villain's identity."

could be changed to

"Graham would rather not carry anything that belonged to that evil stranger, but this cloak may be the only clue to his identity."

Still descriptive, but not unnecessarily wordy. We already know the stranger cursed Graham's children, the color and texture of the cloak can be described in the inventory window, and adding an extra sentence about "the villain's identity" is redundant because there's already the word "clue" in the previous one.

You are missing my point  :P  They say TSL's narrations don't look like other KQ games (which is true) but they don't want it to look like others, they want it to look like their idealised version of KQ.
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Offline sahara

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Re: Is TSL Narrator the new Cedric?
« Reply #125 on: July 30, 2010, 05:22:22 AM »

Quote
Graham takes a look at the tormented tree as its branches are mercilessly caught in a tug-of-war in the winds, to the point of looking like they might even be torn off.

The king can somehow relate: inside of him a wild storm has just begun to rage, harrowing his every nerve, at every inch of a man who has looked evil in the eye before and won, yet has never found a way to truly put it to an end for good.

For comparison, this is what was in the old demo:

Quote
A large oak tree spreads its shading branches out over the path.

I wouldn't say the second one is "better" by any means (and not merely because "shading" doesn't even make sense when the sun isn't out)...

Wow, is that longer description in the game, or is it a parody?  I must have missed that one.  It's clearly overly dramatic, almost to the point of corniness.  I like the analogy idea, but think it could have been expressed more simply.  Also, the level of intensity that's expressed in that description is not always seen elsewhere in the narration or character dialogue.  (By the way, the original/demo description might have been a little pointless, other than to tell the player that it's an oak tree, since the player can plainly see that it's a tree next to a path... but I get Shadyparadox's point.  If a narrator MUST be used in these games, and I'm not convined of that, then I think the narration should offer something beyond stating the obvious.)

Unfortunately, a lot of the descriptions feel like filler or fluff inserted as an afterthought.  It's like the team went to each screen, looked around at the finished visuals and thought, "what 'deep' sounding comment can we tack on to this or that random object which otherwise serves no purpose other than as scenery?"  The fact that the narrations seem like tacked-on filler at times makes the virtual world seem fake and hard to believe.  It also gives the impression that the writing was low on the list of priorities.

I agree with Lambonius and Shadyparadox about the need for a separate editor.  As I'm sure you all know, movie scripts, books, print journalism, etc. all go through this process.  I have no idea what the process for TSL was like, but some of the lines in TSL just scream out for an editor... and I'm not any writing expert.  Something was lacking at the editing stage.  If I were trying to publish something and wanted to be taken seriously on a professional level, you better believe I would have the thing thoroughly edited by a few experienced editors.  I would recognize that I needed their help.  With a game like TSL, it would be great to find an editor with professional-level fiction editing experience, as well as an understanding of interactive fiction.  Laughable, unintended corniness might have been passable in an action game, but in a mostly serious adventure game it's a killer.  A good editor could be the difference between effective story-telling and schlock.

Think of what makes games like Monkey Island, Sam & Max, Grim Fandango, etc. so popular and respected... the writing!  Think of what (among other things) arguably made the new Star Wars movies so disappointing at times... the writing!  I apologize for stating obvious things that you all know already... but I am simply trying to stress the importance of the writing in these kinds of games.  It doesn't have to be a literary masterpiece, but at least make sure it is at professional level if you want to be taken seriously in that way.  Now, I think there are many bright spots so far in TSL's writing, but a lot of the narration needs to be cleaned up style-wise and the character dialogue livened up.  If nothing else, hopefully some of the feedback expressed by people here will be of some use to the PO Studios team in the future.
« Last Edit: July 30, 2010, 06:01:21 AM by sahara »

Offline Damar

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Re: Is TSL Narrator the new Cedric?
« Reply #126 on: July 30, 2010, 06:28:26 AM »
The length of some of the responses doesn't demonstrate to me that the writers wanted to make things look deep, but rather that they love the kings quest universe and wanted to make this game as immersive as possible.  And I can appreciate that goal.  I personally didn't feel that the longer narrations got in the way of game play, so they didn't bother me.  I don't think the main issue, if you really want to get into the long narrations, is that the writing was bad, but rather that there is a change mediums from the written word to the spoken word.  If there weren't all movies could be adapted directly from the book with a minimal screenwriting process.  But the fact is that something that is well written doesn't come across the same way when spoken.  I think that's what's sometimes run into here, the main example that sticks out to me being the back story about Cassima's childhood when you look at the vases.

That said, once again, I don't feel that any of it hinders gameplay to a degree that the game would require a rewrite and have the release deadlines pushed back.  This is the narration and this is the writing style.  And can we even draw definite conclusions?  The Isle of the Crown was the only major location we had in episode one.  Everything else was cut scenes for the most part.  So it could be that the future narrations will be less focused on the emotions of what just happened.  We really don't know.  And that's if you even felt the narrations were too long, which as I've stated before, I really don't think they were.  But that's just my opinion.  And it honestly is what I think, not me trying to gloss things over or be inoffensive.

Besides, if people complain too much, the game designers might throw up their hands and actually record Cedric as a new narrator!  And let me tell you, I don't think any of us want that!  "Oooh, Graham doesn't want to touch the horrid black cloak that eeeeevil, POIsonous man left behind after cursing his children, but there don't seem to be any other clues to that wizard's identity.  But as long as you're carrying that hateful, POIsonous thing, I'll wait here!"

Offline sahara

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Re: Is TSL Narrator the new Cedric?
« Reply #127 on: July 30, 2010, 07:01:53 AM »
Even if you are right that the writing needs no editing (which I think it does) and that the only real problem is the fact that it's being read aloud, shouldn't the fact that the words were going to be spoken have been taken into account during the writing stage?  You can't say a tv show script is bad only because its dialogue would have been better off being read silently instead of spoken... I mean, did the script writer of the show think he/she was writing for a silent movie with subtitles only?  

I personally have no problem with narrative metaphors, back story, emotional insights, etc.  These things can potentially add value to the story and gaming experience.  My problem is with the way it was done here.  I think with a bit more editing the game's script could have been a lot sharper.  I really like a lot of the clever bits of inspired narration, even if the script feels a bit rough.  It's very clear that a lot of love went into this project.  I hope no one takes any of this too personally, since I'm sure nearly all writers could benefit from using an editor who wasn't involved in writing the original copy.

Besides, if people complain too much, the game designers might throw up their hands and actually record Cedric as a new narrator!  And let me tell you, I don't think any of us want that!  "Oooh, Graham doesn't want to touch the horrid black cloak that eeeeevil, POIsonous man left behind after cursing his children, but there don't seem to be any other clues to that wizard's identity.  But as long as you're carrying that hateful, POIsonous thing, I'll wait here!"

OMG, that would be hilarious!   :D  Awwww, all this talk of Cedric is really starting to make me miss the little guy in a way.  I hope he makes a little cameo somewhere.
« Last Edit: July 30, 2010, 07:40:10 AM by sahara »

Offline kindofdoon

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Re: Is TSL Narrator the new Cedric?
« Reply #128 on: July 30, 2010, 07:04:41 AM »
I would bet he's already slated to make a cameo somewhere.

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Offline Lambonius

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Re: Is TSL Narrator the new Cedric?
« Reply #129 on: July 30, 2010, 09:42:30 AM »
You guys aren't hearing us.  Again--when we're talking about something being stylistically overwritten, we're not talking about JUST length.  We're talking about the cases in which added length = redundant wording.  I'm not even necessarily going to say it's purely a content issue either (since whether you like the amount of emotion and melodrama being expressed is really a matter of personal taste.)  Like sahara said, getting backstory and internal monologue in the narrations can be great--it's the way these lines were put together here, often in multiple redundant sentences that take much longer than necessary to express the same sentiments, that we're discussing.

Offline shadyparadox

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Re: Is TSL Narrator the new Cedric?
« Reply #130 on: July 30, 2010, 05:45:55 PM »
You are missing my point  :P  They say TSL's narrations don't look like other KQ games (which is true) but they don't want it to look like others, they want it to look like their idealised version of KQ.

No, the descriptions aren't four words or less, or anything close. Maybe you should play KQ6 again.

Wow, is that longer description in the game, or is it a parody?

It's in the game. Click the eye on the oak tree at the crossroads.

You guys aren't hearing us.  Again--when we're talking about something being stylistically overwritten, we're not talking about JUST length.  We're talking about the cases in which added length = redundant wording.  I'm not even necessarily going to say it's purely a content issue either (since whether you like the amount of emotion and melodrama being expressed is really a matter of personal taste.)  Like sahara said, getting backstory and internal monologue in the narrations can be great--it's the way these lines were put together here, often in multiple redundant sentences that take much longer than necessary to express the same sentiments, that we're discussing.

Are my examples not relevant? If so, could you provide one so I have a better idea of what you're referring to? To me, it sounds like we're talking about the same thing.
« Last Edit: July 30, 2010, 05:49:36 PM by shadyparadox »

Offline B'rrr

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Re: Is TSL Narrator the new Cedric?
« Reply #131 on: July 31, 2010, 12:10:51 AM »
You are missing my point  :P  They say TSL's narrations don't look like other KQ games (which is true) but they don't want it to look like others, they want it to look like their idealised version of KQ.

No, the descriptions aren't four words or less, or anything close. Maybe you should play KQ6 again.

Ahh, but maybe you should play KQ1 again then, or KQ2 or KQ3 or... for every well written comment in KQ6 there is a short one that is much like mine (granted, better written, I was exaggerating 5-6 words usually though (that is close!)). hell, for every well written comment in KQ6 I can probably find an object in KQ5 that has no comment at all!

- this is a very beautiful tree
- this is your ordinairy rock
- the flowers are very beautiful
- this is a beautiful little lake

just start up KQ1 and walk one screen to the right and you can find the comments above.

So what is to say that your written lines are better, more kings quest like then for example the ones I wrote? why should your style be used over mine? is KQ6 more of a Kings Quest game then for example KQ1?  :o :o

If the team suddenly got the time and recources to change the current narrations, why should they change it the way you proposed? True, it would make those that are a fan of the descriptions in KQ6 perhaps more pleased about the game, but not those that like it the way KQ1 was. It might even make others more angry, even with only one episode out there are people that think that this is going to be a KQ6 remake, wouldn't changing the narrating to be more like KQ6 strengthen their case? They can not please everyone sadly.

You guys aren't hearing us.  Again--when we're talking about something being stylistically overwritten, we're not talking about JUST length.  We're talking about the cases in which added length = redundant wording.  I'm not even necessarily going to say it's purely a content issue either (since whether you like the amount of emotion and melodrama being expressed is really a matter of personal taste.)  Like sahara said, getting backstory and internal monologue in the narrations can be great--it's the way these lines were put together here, often in multiple redundant sentences that take much longer than necessary to express the same sentiments, that we're discussing.

Are my examples not relevant? If so, could you provide one so I have a better idea of what you're referring to? To me, it sounds like we're talking about the same thing.

Actually, you two seem more on one line then many other people that complain about the narrating, but you have to see that not everyone that is unhappy with the current narrating is unhappy about the same thing or unhappy for the same reason, let alone that they are on one line about what the best solution is to fix it.

I am quite easy though, would probably enjoy the game as much as I am now if a different narrating style is used. I like the current one, I am not in a hurry (unlike graham maybe) so there is no need for me to rush things, I have time to listen to lengthy comments even if most they are irrelevant, redundant and could be said in a sentence or two less. I am also a big fan of KQ6 narrating, I can even smile at the old KQ1 narrating gives a nostalgic feeling.

For those that aren't happy with the current narrating style, just want to say that not every KQ game is alike, so don't expect TSL to be, think of the narrating as something that sets it apart from others. And to those that want changes, don't think that the changes you want are something that everyone(everyone that wants changes that is) wants.
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Offline Baggins

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Re: Is TSL Narrator the new Cedric?
« Reply #132 on: July 31, 2010, 08:37:56 AM »
Quote
this is a very beautiful tree

Point of note the tree comments are random. If you type "look at tree" you'll get one of 2-3 random messages, that appear in most screens with trees.

There is only a few trees the game actually specifically comments on. The large oak tree (and a nearby maple), the walnut tree, and the tree growing out of the lake.
Well, ya, King's Quest is on Earth. Daventry is very old city from a long time ago. It's in ruins now and people aren't quite sure exactly where it used to be. There are some archaeologists searching through the ruins, they think they know its Daventry. But its somewhere on Earth."-Roberta Williams http://kingsquest.wikia.com/wiki/File:Daventryisearth.ogg

Offline Lambonius

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Re: Is TSL Narrator the new Cedric?
« Reply #133 on: August 01, 2010, 10:06:59 PM »
@shadyparadox:

No, no.  I agree with you.  My comment was meant for others who keep bringing up the same tired "I'd rather have long narrations than four word generic ones" rebuttal--since that's not what we're suggesting at all.  I was trying to clarify that it's not a matter of length per se, but rather being succinct in expressing the intended sentiment.  It's not necessarily that the sentiments being expressed are at fault (though in my personal opinion, some of the melodrama is a bit overdone here--that tree/internal storm line is a great example), it's that the sentiments often seem to be written with the intention of being as flowery and verbose as possible.  There is never any reason to go on for several lines saying something that you could have expressed just as easily and far more eloquently in a single sentence.  It's like--attempts at poetry that fall flat are almost worse than not attempting at all.  Correct me if I'm wrong, but that seems to be what you're getting at as well.  :)
« Last Edit: August 02, 2010, 11:13:06 AM by Lambonius »

Offline loranna238

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Re: Is TSL Narrator the new Cedric?
« Reply #134 on: August 02, 2010, 07:59:50 PM »
Comparing TSL's sarcastic, mocking narrator to original KQ narrators might not be the most appropriate analogy.  Due to the TSL narrator's ability to get under the player's skin and provide a distracting and sometimes unnecessary presence, I think a comparison to Cedric "Poisonous Snake" Owl is more apt.  

See here:  http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=F64wDQJLWMQ

This is not meant as a personal criticism of anyone, but simply to comment on an aspect of TSL that I found problematic.

I loved the narrator!

Offline Ronkaperplexous

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Re: Is TSL Narrator the new Cedric?
« Reply #135 on: August 03, 2010, 03:33:10 PM »
Overall I thought the narrator was fine, although there were a few bits that could be improved upon.

Mainly, I just came here to say that if there is a snake, any kind of snake, anywhere in the series, the narrator HAS to say, "Watch you, Graham! A pOIsonous snake!" If there are no snakes in the series, one should be added. Seriously, I'd settle for a picture of a snake or something, just to get that line in.
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Offline tessspoon

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Re: Is TSL Narrator the new Cedric?
« Reply #136 on: August 03, 2010, 03:42:41 PM »
 :snake: :snake: :snake: :watchout: :watchout: :watchout:

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Re: Is TSL Narrator the new Cedric?
« Reply #137 on: August 03, 2010, 03:56:38 PM »
We tried, but Graham wasn't too keen to the idea. (Image courtesy of Chris Uskho)
« Last Edit: August 03, 2010, 05:14:41 PM by Cez »


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Re: Is TSL Narrator the new Cedric?
« Reply #138 on: August 03, 2010, 04:11:45 PM »
LOL, I love that image so much.  ;D

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Offline wilco64256

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Re: Is TSL Narrator the new Cedric?
« Reply #139 on: August 03, 2010, 05:09:27 PM »
We tried, but Graham wasn't to keen to the idea. (Image courtesy of Chris Uskho)

Apparently Graham is channeling both Samuel L Jackson and Captain Morgan in this photo.
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