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PostPosted: Thu Jan 30, 2014 3:03 am 
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HarveyMidnight wrote:
If I were to design my own "Myst VI", for example, my FIRST priority would be to come up with a story-based reason why your character would need to visit almost ALL of the Ages from the past games, just to put them all in one place with all the original music & sound effects and some new things added in, new music and new things to find-- so even AFTER you complete the story-mode, this game would be a 'museum piece' where you can always go back and tour your favorite Ages.


For me, URU is just like that, I mean the last part of your paragraph...

In URU, even AFTER you complete the story-mode, this game is a 'museum piece' where you can always go back and tour your favorite Ages.

:D

I changed the verb tense to fit the reality

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PostPosted: Thu Jan 30, 2014 9:56 pm 
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Great topic to raise, Karkadann!

I could list a lot of qualities I like to see in games, but the number one thing I'm always wanting is:
A strong sense of immersion

So, several things stem from that:
- Since I want to feel like I am in the game environment, I don't want to feel like I am controlling an avatar who is in the environment: I want first-person play. Third-person control separates me from the environment and makes me aware that I'm "playing a game". Sure, it's okay if there's a cinematic cut-away once in awhile, showing my avatar doing whatever I'm doing...as long as it's brief and returns me to immersion quickly.
- I want to be able to inspect things closely and at will.
- I want to at least have the illusion that I am free to choose my path, even if the game's solution can later be described as a linear series of steps.
- The environment's graphics should not be so cartooney as to prevent a "willing suspension of disbelief" when playing. URU's graphics are far from photorealistic, but they're well-crafted enough to be visually plausible. To some extent, this is also true for most of the storyline and the objects on the game, with only a few exceptions (gigantic, unexplained floating-and-spinning carved rocks in Eder Kemo make me scratch my head a bit, for instance). Detail objects, lighting, texturing, appropriate sound effects: all these help create a plausible environment.
- A sense of purpose can help the player feel like they're really there, whereas wandering aimlessly can make the player more aware that they are simply manipulating an artificial construct.
- Backstory (and time spent in the environment) also helps make an artificial space feel real.

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PostPosted: Fri Jan 31, 2014 3:50 am 
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What do you want in a video game?

As a parent, there are two - no, three - essential items to list on the box (or the download) that I would require to qualify as a family-friendly game. These have, over the years, become my pet peeves when they are not provided:

  • The ability to pause the game without consequence at ANY time, or continuous auto-save, without being required to search high and low for save points. Save points are the worst thing - ever.
  • The ability to pause or save the game even in the middle of a battle - usually a long battle that makes you late for dinner or other more important things (which is just about anything in real life). Magic Carpet 2 is one of my favorite games, and you can pause battles.
  • The ability to pause or save matches in games like League of Legends. And yes, I do mean the rest of the world pauses while you go off and eat dinner and no one reports you for having real life obligations and emergencies and needing to leave, for goodness sake. Game police! You have got to be kidding.

That's my list. All the games from Cyan that I have played meet these qualifications. So do Valve games such as Portal, Portal 2, and Half-Life, though of course Team Fortress doesn't qualify.

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PostPosted: Fri Jan 31, 2014 8:17 am 
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More random number generators in the programing, so the puzzles never have the same solution twice :mrgreen:

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PostPosted: Fri Jan 31, 2014 10:18 am 
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JWPlatt wrote:
What do you want in a video game?

As a parent, there are two - no, three - essential items to list on the box (or the download) that I would require to qualify as a family-friendly game. These have, over the years, become my pet peeves when they are not provided:

  • The ability to pause the game without consequence at ANY time, or continuous auto-save, without being required to search high and low for save points. Save points are the worst thing - ever.
  • The ability to pause or save the game even in the middle of a battle - usually a long battle that makes you late for dinner or other more important things (which is just about anything in real life). Magic Carpet 2 is one of my favorite games, and you can pause battles.
  • The ability to pause or save matches in games like League of Legends. And yes, I do mean the rest of the world pauses while you go off and eat dinner and no one reports you for having real life obligations and emergencies and needing to leave, for goodness sake. Game police! You have got to be kidding.

That's my list. All the games from Cyan that I have played meet these qualifications. So do Valve games such as Portal, Portal 2, and Half-Life, though of course Team Fortress doesn't qualify.


Saving and pausing are nice. I'm hoping Unreal Engine 4 games give us the option of saving at anytime. All Unreal Engine 3 games I own require you to go to some kind of checkpoint, it's quite the pet peeve.

Another thing I like in games is being able to add your own things to them. Model replacements, textures, levels. When done right it can prolong the game that allows it.

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PostPosted: Fri Jan 31, 2014 2:45 pm 
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I like games that make me think, but I'm also not averse to "violent" games. However, I'm not fond of the mindless violence types ( Assassin's Creed). I have really enjoyed the Mass Effect games , which have violence and hand-eye coordination requirements, but also have a gripping storyline. Classic side scrollers and rpgs are fun too, like Mario and Zelda, and I also enjoy goofy racing games like Mario Kart or Diddy Kong Racing. The realistic racers like Gran Tourismo, not so much. Also fond of time wasters like Bejeweled haha!

I guess I dabble in many fields, but my big requirements are fun, strategy, and a bit of peril ( be that avoiding bullets, dodging exploding turtle shells, beating Sephiroth, or not running out of moves before the clock runs out.). Visuals are a lower priority: it can look awesome like Riven, or pixelated like Mario Bros.

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PostPosted: Fri Jan 31, 2014 4:15 pm 
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What I really like are games that never really end, such as sanbox-likes, multiple ways to complete the game, hidden secrets, good backstory, that kind of thing. It's really disappointing when you finish a game and then realize that's all there is to it.
Another thing that I personally like is when you can "peek under the hood" of the game. Although it's not necessarily useful, it can be quite fun, especially if the developers un/intentionally left scrapped concepts over :D Some games are also moddable in some way, which makes them even more endless, and thus better.

I also completely agree with JWPlatt. Having control over if, when and where to save is very useful, especially in such endless-like games that I talked about above. One fairly recent game that I played is The Inner World. It's a 2D point-and-click adventure and really nice IMO, but it has awful save mechanics. There are only three save slots, you cannot save a game to a different slot, and the game saves automatically at certain points. That means if you want to do something differently than you just did a few moments ago, you often have to replay the entire game up to that point, which is obviously annoying.

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PostPosted: Sat Feb 08, 2014 4:20 pm 
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What do I like in a game? Thinking about it, my preferences are changing with time. My patience with games is shortening. I have less time for puzzles and prefer less complexity where I used to like more. Exploring is great fun. Finding hidden places is rewarding.

I dig through studies to find what it is people like in games. It seems we seldom compare what we think we like with our actual behavior. Saying we like angel food cake when an observer always sees us eating chocolate is not proof that we REALLY prefer chocolate. But, when one store offers angel food and another chocolate, and you always show up in the chocolate offering store, one has to wonder.

I see game makers as being like the shop owner trying to entice visitors to come in and keep coming back. They have to deal with what we say and what we actually do. Find out why, while important, is often far too complex satisfactory research. We seem to over simplify the “why’s”.

An article on Tech Crunch points out some the things we have learned about what the majority of people like. See: You’d Be Surprised By What Really Motivates Users.

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PostPosted: Tue Mar 04, 2014 7:12 pm 
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So, some of what Nalates' article is pointing out is kind of obvious and not too surprising:

-people like social interaction, especially if it is positive. Moreover, social currency can be more meaningful to people than monetary currency.
-people like immediate or nearly-immediate feedback for their actions.

I'll also suggest a few general additional ideas that I suspect are true:

-people want a game that will immerse them in a well-developed gameworld with compelling narrative, graphics, and sound design.
-people like to make progress in a game and not get totally stuck, yet also want to be challenged
-people want avenues for creative expression and customization of game content
-people like to be the protagonist. They want to be the hero of the story, and not an irrelevant bystander who has minimal effect on the gameworld.

So how does this all apply to Uru? How can it be applied to Obduction?

Uru benefits enormously from its social component and its community. The game is currently pretty stagnant so this is really the primary thing going for Uru right now. (the fans!) I think it would be great if Obduction had Roadtrip Mode or something similar to meet this social need. It might even be smart of Cyan to look at Obduction and try to implement some form of Roadtrip mode with the $100,000 extra they have beyond the first stretch goal. They don't have enough to do that AND a new world, but maybe they have just enough to do one of the two.

Obduction should, consistently, give players some indication, even if it's subtle, that they are or aren't on the right track when they try things. Obduction's puzzles should also make some sort of internal logical sense, and should feel seamlessly integrated into the gameworld, without being so subtly integrated that key puzzle elements go unnoticed by the player. Clues, or parts of a puzzle, should have a discernible connection to the place they will be used... and even though there will undoubtedly be a LOT of red-herring objects in Obduction (due to the Kickstarter object rewards) these should be kept in some discernible way separate from the puzzle elements so players don't get lost trying to find the things that are actually relevant.

-Regarding immersion, Cyan is (at their best) able to do this brilliantly. Cyan needs to do what they do when they are at the top of their game - create fully realized worlds with well-developed characters and a story that will engage players. They must create a world that is detailed and feels real and believable even if it is (and it will be) totally fantastic in nature. The art direction is promising already - and if they can execute the imagery well, and supplement it with amazing, atmospheric sound design, it will come to life for players exploring it.

-Puzzle design must not get the player so hopelessly stumped that they give up in frustration. The frustration element is, I suspect, the reason the Myst series went downhill in the size of its audience, maybe more than any other reason. Myst was a mainstream phenomenon that caught millions of peoples' attention, but over time most of those people would drift away, leaving only the most patient players still playing.
A *substantial* number of people who bought Myst weren't able to finish it, or were - but only after searching for help. Riven was arguably even tougher to complete, and I think the people who got stuck in Myst and never finished it probably didn't buy Riven, the people who got stuck on Riven didn't buy Myst III, etc*
I'm not faulting Cyan for this too much - puzzle design is quite tricky to do well. The puzzles have to challenge enough to be interesting, but not so much that they end up unsolved. I suspect testing the puzzles extensively will help - prototype every puzzle early and test them all with a randomly selected sample of people. Measure, statistically, what happens. If it is too simple, and people breeze through the puzzle quickly, tweak it to make it a bit trickier. If it takes most players hours upon hours to solve, and some players can't make sense of it at all, try modifying it to make it a bit easier. Repeat the process until every puzzle in the game is well-balanced.
I would recommend looking at the puzzle design in the Portal games as a superb example of well-calibrated puzzles which require some time and thought to beat, but which most people don't get stuck on completely.

-Customization, personalization, and creativity. I've come to believe that Uru's most time-consuming, difficult, and rewarding puzzle is the puzzle of 'figuring out how to make a fan age.'
Now - Obduction won't likely have player-created content in that sense but there's no reason why the player shouldn't be able to mess with a lot of the game settings. Graphics settings, sound, controls, player-character options, and good game-save options [plenty of manual save slots plus a good autosave system]

Finally, tell us a good story and allow the player to be at the center driving that story forward. Create a sense of mystery, a few hooks, secrets, unknowns, and then allow us to uncover what is going on as the game progresses. Surprise us and entertain us with some clever ideas and some 'aha!' moments in both puzzles and story. It would also be good to give players the sense that they affected the gameworld in a meaningful and positive way. Make the player a hero. Give the player choices and actions within the game that matter both to the player and to the other characters in the game. Give us a narrative that has some substance, that's not sparse or thin, but at the same time, don't load the game with so much character interaction that the quality of that interaction is compromised in the process. Cast actors/voice actors wisely... if you can, give us better performances than some of what we saw in Myst IV's weaker scenes.

Finally - when the game is released, don't hesitate to publicize that release and showcase the game's strengths. You can have an amazing game but if nobody knows about it, then it won't go anywhere. I suspect a lot of the later Myst titles failed not only due to their inherent flaws [there were some definite weak points in them] but partly also to the fact that the publishers didn't call attention to them. People in the general public didn't *notice* them, for the most part, didn't seem to realize they existed. You are self-publishing Obduction, so hopefully now that you're actually in control of the release you can come up with a variety of creative, effective, yet inexpensive ways to publicize the release in 2015.


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PostPosted: Wed Mar 05, 2014 6:40 am 
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what I always found interesting is the type of story thats based loosely on reality in such a way that even though you can't prove its real at the same time you can't prove aint real

I recall Rod Sterling was a genius at this sort of stuff and a lot of his stories seem so timeless that people still watch them with new fans in every generation

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PostPosted: Mon Mar 17, 2014 3:04 pm 
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what i want is a game where you do and get every thing done solo if you want too. i hate when they make you have to group up or make you have to PVP to get stuff. yes make it easy for a group to do but do not make it so it can not be done solo.

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PostPosted: Mon Mar 17, 2014 9:39 pm 
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First and foremost: highly intuitive game controls! All the beautiful artwork and backstory in the universe won't mean a thing if you can't figure out how to play the darn thing.

Although I prefer non-violent puzzle type games, I don't mind a little combat, provided it's not too graphic.

Finally, it should all Make Sense. Items should be where you would logically expect them to be, not in some random far-off corner. (A Quiet Weekend In Capri had this problem.)

I don't like timed puzzles, especially that last one in Portal. I was never able to finish that game. On the other hand, I don't mind tough puzzles if I can always come back to them later. For example, it took me three years to finish Riven, but I didn't mind, because no matter how it took, it would always be there waiting for me.

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PostPosted: Mon Mar 17, 2014 9:58 pm 
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TOOO wrote:

I don't like timed puzzles


I so agree :roll:

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