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Gloomwood - Thief-ish stealth horror game from New Blood Interactive - Early Access on August 16th

Bad Sector

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If "pressing the F button makes you move up" is a rule, how on earth is "pressing the G button makes time rewind" NOT a rule? The distinction is entirely arbitrary. You seem to really really want to draw a line where none exists. These are all systemic responses to player actions, nothing more nor less.

In the very specific example you give here, no there isn't actually a distinction - these two are rules.

However i'm guessing (and correct me if i'm wrong) that you had loading in mind when you wrote "makes time rewind" - in this case the distinction is that loading the game to make time rewind is not the rule itself but the way the simulation implements the rule.

This is also relevant to the phonograph part above: the phonograph itself is perfectly fine but it is just fluff to bring in the saving interface, not any different than the sounds and animations you'd see in the Thief menu or any other form of ornamentation. But the actual saving and loading is still at a higher level regardless of how it is invoked.

In both of these cases (time rewind and phonograph saving) what i previously wrote still applies: the game's difficulty should be based on its rules, not its saving and loading - that a game can have, e.g., time rewind implemented via saving and loading is irrelevant as it should also have a save and load functionality (and does not rely on it or lack of it for its difficulty).

I mean, you can have that opinion if you want, but it doesn't hold water as an argument. Millions of players enjoy games like this because of the limitations

I do believe the argument holds water because everything i've written still applies to it, however note that i'm not arguing if there are people enjoying the games and how many of those people exist. At least i'm not sure that popularity is a metric for how good a game's design is (i mean, on one hand games are meant to be fun and you could argue that popularity shows that since what makes a game fun is its design decisions, then since that game achieves its purpose - being fun - for a large number of people, then yes, its design decisions are good - but on the other hand... i can think several examples of popular games that i do not really think - or least want to admit :-P - that they have good design).
 

DalekFlay

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In the case of Gloomwood, I see a few people saying "How could they use a different system from Thief? It's supposed to be exactly like Thief!" Only it's not, of course. Rogers and Szymanski didn't just forget to make the save system like Thief's, and they weren't too lazy to code it (save anywhere is already in the game on easy difficulty). Clearly, the devs wanted this game to have more tension, and to take more cues from survival horror games like Resident Evil with its "typewriter rooms". Having actually played the Gloomwood demo, with this presumed goal in mind, I feel they succeeded. I felt relief when I found a phonograph, and I felt anxiety building more the longer it had been since I touched one. This is exactly the kind of emotional response you want from your players when making a horror game.

I agree with you, but I think in Gloomwood's case a lot of people want to play it like an indie Thief (or Dishonored), including myself, right or wrong. That's why it's getting more complaints than an RE game would for example, I believe. Similar thing happened with Alien Isolation, which was a survival horror game that played enough like other genres that people like me played and loved it, but weren't super into the survival horror part. I don't know if that makes sense, and honestly we're probably the dipshits in this scenario, but it is what it is.
 

Zombra

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A lot of people want to play it like an indie Thief, including myself, and honestly we're probably the dipshits in this scenario, but it is what it is.
I wouldn't call y'all dipshits, or even think it. The Thief influence is emphasized more than a little here and (if you don't do your research) it's not unreasonable to expect a straight up clone. And it's not stupid or wrong to want a straight up clone. What's wrong is to say (and you haven't, it's just these others) that the game must have no other ambitions than to be a straight up clone.
 
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Zombra

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The dev says outright that the main influence there is Shock 2 and Deus Ex, not necessarily Thief.
The trouble I have with the demo is that it's satisfying neither.
Hmm, that's surprisingly negative. I was looking over the thread and noticed that a couple months ago you were much more positive about the game:

I just finished the demo and I gotta say that it turned out to be quiet better than I thought. The game manages to scratch that Thief itch while still retain its own character.
Not meaning to rip on you, just curious what changed your tune.
 

UserNamer

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They should see to it to have "Save everywhere" and then implement the appropriate design around it to make it feel challenging and satisfying. Even if that entails making large AI, weapons, difficulty and level design changes.

Save everywhere should be a commandment for every game designer with self respect.
Strongly disagree. Games should move away from save anywhere
 

UserNamer

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If "pressing the F button makes you move up" is a rule, how on earth is "pressing the G button makes time rewind" NOT a rule? The distinction is entirely arbitrary. You seem to really really want to draw a line where none exists. These are all systemic responses to player actions, nothing more nor less.

In the very specific example you give here, no there isn't actually a distinction - these two are rules.

However i'm guessing (and correct me if i'm wrong) that you had loading in mind when you wrote "makes time rewind" - in this case the distinction is that loading the game to make time rewind is not the rule itself but the way the simulation implements the rule.

This is also relevant to the phonograph part above: the phonograph itself is perfectly fine but it is just fluff to bring in the saving interface, not any different than the sounds and animations you'd see in the Thief menu or any other form of ornamentation. But the actual saving and loading is still at a higher level regardless of how it is invoked.

In both of these cases (time rewind and phonograph saving) what i previously wrote still applies: the game's difficulty should be based on its rules, not its saving and loading - that a game can have, e.g., time rewind implemented via saving and loading is irrelevant as it should also have a save and load functionality (and does not rely on it or lack of it for its difficulty).

I mean, you can have that opinion if you want, but it doesn't hold water as an argument. Millions of players enjoy games like this because of the limitations

I do believe the argument holds water because everything i've written still applies to it, however note that i'm not arguing if there are people enjoying the games and how many of those people exist. At least i'm not sure that popularity is a metric for how good a game's design is (i mean, on one hand games are meant to be fun and you could argue that popularity shows that since what makes a game fun is its design decisions, then since that game achieves its purpose - being fun - for a large number of people, then yes, its design decisions are good - but on the other hand... i can think several examples of popular games that i do not really think - or least want to admit :-P - that they have good design).
Having save anywhere greatly limits the options you have in setting up a challenge. By definition quicksaving and quickloading anywhere is super easy mode.
 

Nifft Batuff

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They should see to it to have "Save everywhere" and then implement the appropriate design around it to make it feel challenging and satisfying. Even if that entails making large AI, weapons, difficulty and level design changes.

Save everywhere should be a commandment for every game designer with self respect.
Strongly disagree. Games should move away from save anywhere

Games should return to save everywhere.

When games reach an interesting complexity, you need a save everywhere feature. Checkpoints, autosaves, savepoints, are all indexes of streamlined gameplay. It is not a coincidence that in the past what differentiated PC games from console games was the possibility to save everywhere. Now PC games are basically ports of console ones. And it also ironic that while games tends to become more and more linear interactive movies, the real movies have at least something that games are missing: the possibility to interrupt and resume watching whenever you want.

If this trend to reduce the flexibility to save will continue, soon games be like the old coin-ops, where you will have pay to continue without replaying from the start. (https://www.techspot.com/news/73430-second-save-slot-metal-gear-survive-costs-10.html). I am sure players will be happy by that.
 
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Bad Sector

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Having save anywhere greatly limits the options you have in setting up a challenge.

I've already went to great lengths to describe how saving relates to the game's rules vs their simulation, so i do not think there is a need to repeat them - check previous posts i've made here.

The only reason (beyond technical limitations) a designer will need to rely on an element at the simulation level, like the saving system (but not limited to it - same applies with UI, controls, etc) to achieve a level of challenge they want is that the game rules they are working with are inadequate for that and taking a cheap way out instead of addressing the core of the problem which is their game's rules - it is at the same level as if a game decided to put a strong blur filter over the screen: sure, it is harder to play the game this way, but that difficulty doesn't come from the game's own rules and it is at best a cheap gimmick.

By definition quicksaving and quickloading anywhere is super easy mode.

There is no such definition i am aware of, what do you have in mind?
 

UserNamer

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I think a game no matter the rules is going to be easier if you can quicksave and quickload. I don't want to give the impression I'm saying no game should have it, but developers should absolutely be free to design a challenge and making no quicksave part of that challenge.

You might absolutely be tight that for a thief like game specifically it's better to have it but as a general point no quicksave can provide greater challenge if the game is properly designed around it.
 

Bad Sector

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I think a game no matter the rules is going to be easier if you can quicksave and quickload. I don't want to give the impression I'm saying no game should have it, but developers should absolutely be free to design a challenge and making no quicksave part of that challenge.

Just to be clear, i do not disagree with that - having quicksave and quickload (or saving and loading in general) does certainly affect the game's difficulty. My point however is that this difficulty is cheap and shallow, not really any different than forcing you to use only -say- arrow keys to move in an FPS game or placing a full screen blur over the entire image - sure the game does become more difficult, but that difficulty doesn't come from the game's inherent rules or design, it comes from the simulation quality and features (or lack thereof).

There reason i'm going on and on about rules and simulation is that pretty much all games, from the simplest games like pacman and tetris, to the most complicated RPG, strategy and simulators, exist in three (kinda) layers (putting them in reverse):
  1. At the bottom is game's rules and implicit state definition - these define how the game's state is supposed to change when some event happens (e.g. when a player presses the fire key, they shoot through their weapon). Games rules are an abstract concept, they are just ideas - they do not have a form.
  2. At the middle is the game simulation that implements the game's rules, maintains the game's state and presents it to the player - this is the actual program that is running in your computer (e.g. when the player presses the left mouse button, the rules for pressing the fire key are simulated). Unlike the game's rules, the simulation does exist (even if it is in digital form) - you can see it and interact with it.
  3. At the top is the player themselves (not really part of the game, but you can think of the player as part of the entire system while the game is being played) who interacts with the simulation.
Two important things here are:
  1. The game's rules are independent of the game's simulation. In theory you should be able to take out a piece of paper (or many pieces, depending on the game :-P) and run through all rules by hand (some designers actually do exactly that to try out individual systems, though the more complicated a game is, the harder is to run all of its rules on paper).
  2. You do not "skip layers" - the player never interacts with the rules directly - this makes no sense. What the player does is to interact with the simulation which itself implements the rules. The player however does not play with the simulation itself, it is the rules that define the game.
From the above it should become clear that the goal of the simulation is to provide an interface between the player and the game's rules and like all good interfaces, it should be as efficient as possible when it comes to performing its job (and just to avoid any confusion, here with "interface" i do not mean "user interface" even if the UI is a very important aspect - but if you think UIs in general as interfaces between the human and the machine then you can get an idea with what i mean with "interface" between the player and game's rules).

When it comes to game saving and game loading, those are by their definitions actions that happen at the simulation level - they save and load the game's state and the game state is managed by the simulation (the game's rules only define what the state is and how it can be altered), thus they exist outside of the game's rules. This means that any difficulty created through them exists not because the game's rules dictate that difficulty but because of how the game's simulation allows you to interface with the game's rules.

Hence why i write that this is a cheap form of difficulty: this isn't good game design as it doesn't rely on the game's own rules, but on how you interface with those rules - a form of difficulty akin to that of adding a full screen blur or forcing you to use only arrow keys or playing an RTS with only a touch screen: these all increase a game's difficulty, but that doesn't come from the game's rules, it comes from how the game allows you to interact with those rules.

EDIT: and following on the above, the reason i believe all games should not rely on saving and loading for their difficulty is that good game design (as described above) does not need to rely on those for it (which can also be seen in practice already over the history of PC games - tons of great yet difficult PC games, from the 80s to today allow saving and loading anywhere).

I hope i made my thoughts more clear this time :-P.
 
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Zombra

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good game design does not need to rely on [higher "level" design to be good]
That's a reason games don't HAVE to incorporate save mechanics into the design challenge. No one anywhere has argued that all games MUST have restrictive save systems. So we're all in agreement on that part.

What you've again failed to do is give any reason games SHOULD NOT use save mechanics to enhance the design, if it makes the experience more fun. "Because they shouldn't have to" is not a valid reason. You're saying a painter should never use green paint when they could mix blue and yellow and get a similar result. "Why not use green paint?" "Because you shouldn't have to, you have blue and yellow already." That's a very very dumb reason.
 

Bad Sector

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good game design does not need to rely on [higher "level" design to be good]
That's a reason games don't HAVE to incorporate save mechanics into the design challenge.

I never wrote that part about "higher level design", my entire point is that saving and loading is part of the simulation implementation, not part of its game design. Saving and loading is not part of the game's *design*, it is part of the simulation that implements the design.

No one anywhere has argued that all games MUST have restrictive save systems. So we're all in agreement on that part.

I also never wrote anything about restrictiveness of saving systems nor about what all games must have. I do agree that NOT all games MUST have a save system that is not the best it can be (from a simulation perspective) but that is only for technical reasons as far as good design is concerned (of course not all games have the best design and, among others, they do rely on simulation implementation details for their difficulty).

What you've again failed to do is give any reason games SHOULD NOT use save mechanics to enhance the design, if it makes the experience more fun.

But i did write why games should not rely on saving and loading for their difficulty (i never mentioned "save mechanics" because from everything i wrote so far it should be obvious that i do not see saving and loading as part of a game's mechanics) and not only i gave reasons (relying on simulation details rather than rules) but also expanded on why i gave those reasons and how i came to that conclusion (my entire previous post) and even gave examples of alternative ways to "enhance" the difficulty that follow the same logic as relying on saving and loading (the full screen blur, forcing arrow key use, forcing touch screen use, etc) to make more clear what exactly i see wrong with it since i think those examples are things others not only would understand, but perhaps even experienced first hand in other games (well, except the blur one).

Beyond that I'm not sure what else to write. What part of what i wrote is not clear?

"Because they shouldn't have to" is not a valid reason.

I never wrote that though.

You're saying a painter should never use green paint when they could mix blue and yellow and get a similar result. "Why not use green paint?" "Because you shouldn't have to, you have blue and yellow already." That's a very very dumb reason.

Yes, it is a dumb reason but i never wrote that either.
 

Zombra

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Bad Sector

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"Because they shouldn't have to" is not a valid reason.
I never wrote that though.

The reason i believe all games should not rely on saving and loading for their difficulty is that good game design does not need to rely on those for it

Yes? The reason wasn't "because they shouldn't have to", the reason was "saving and loading for their difficulty is that good game design does not need to rely on those [ie saving and loading] for it" and the why for that was what i wrote several times above.

I never wrote "because they shouldn't have to" as a reason.
 

PrettyDeadman

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The dev says outright that the main influence there is Shock 2 and Deus Ex, not necessarily Thief.

The trouble I have with the demo is that it's satisfying neither.
If main influences are deus ex and system shock 2, but not necessarily thief, then why the games looks and plays nothing like deus ex or system shock 2 and exactly like thief?
 

kangaxx

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Played 15 mins or so of the demo. The atmosphere is OK.. feels like they've done a reasonable amount with very little. The combat and stealth feels very cheap though, and there doesn't seem to be a disincentive to charging in sword first from what I've seen. Does that change as you progress?
 

Child of Malkav

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Very cool idea with the briefcase but I preferred the backpack. How do you wield and shoot a 2 handed weapon like the shotgun (or the harpoon gun, assuming it's 2 handed) while carrying a suitcase?
 

Child of Malkav

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I like overanalyzing.
Maybe he adds straps on the briefcase and hangs it on the back using those straps or just one and hang it diagonally. IDK. But cool still.
 

gerey

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Whoever had the idea to copy Resident Evil 4's inventory system is a fucking genius. Now all the game needs is herbs that can be combined different ways, a merchant that can upgrade equipment and more weapons/gadgets and it will be the perfect first-person steampunk Resident Evil 4.
 

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