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Incline Strangeland - new adventure game from Wormwood Studios

bertram_tung

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Insert Title Here
A small update here.

Right now, the game comprises three somewhat distinct parts, two of which were far enough along to invite third party testing. That's going on right now. We're getting a fair amount of feedback. We'll need to assess whether those parts require any significant changes, but it doesn't look like it. The third part has quite a bit done, but is not ready for testing yet.

Based on testing, I think it is fair to assume the game will be considerably shorter than Primordia. It's very hard for a developer to judge his own playing time, but testers seem to be finishing the first two parts in ~2 to ~2.5 hours, which would be consistent with the whole game in the ~3 to ~3.5 hour range. This is not ideal, and we're considering ways to expand it somewhat, but candidly these are on the order of changing your high school essay to 2.2 spacing and 1.3" margins -- you can maybe squeeze a half page out of such shenanigans, but you can't turn a five-page essay into a ten-pager. It is possible that we might add a fourth part, depending on how we feel after the third part is done. That is less absurd that it sounds on paper given the way the game's exposition works. But at some point, I just want to be done with the thing. As you may recall, this started out life as a competition game that was supposed to be made in a few days and played in an hour or something, so the whole thing was born small, as it were, and can only grow so much.

On the plus side, the testers, who include some highly critical Codexers, are generally positive about the game. For a game like this, a lot depends on whether it sticks the landing, so I'm remaining overall pessimistic, as is my wont, but perhaps it will wind up well received, brevity notwithstanding.

I never have a problem with quality over quantity, personally. Nobody likes filler content. Recently I played this goofie little 3 dollar indie adventure called "Football Game" (nowhere NEAR the production value of something like Primordia or Strangeland) and it lasted maybe an hour. However it was one of the most memorable and enjoyable adventure games I have played in a while. I am sure whatever you decide will be awesome.

Thank you for the update! I've been resisting the temptation to bump this thread asking for updates. This makes me very excited to know you're potentially around 2/3 finished.
 
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MRY

Wormwood Studios
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bertram_tung Three things:

(1) I tentatively agree, but for certain purposes, quantity and quality aren't separable. Many adventure games benefit from "breathing room." Thus, a gem of a small adventure (and who's to say SL's a gem!) is at least arguably inferior to a solid but flawed larger game simply by virtue of the latter's size. You develop a different relationship with a longer game, as the protagonist becomes a familiar companion/surrogate, the designer's puzzle logic starts to become more apparent, and the length of the journey gives meaning to its end. So, I think the fact that SL may be quite a bit shorter than Primordia is definitely a downside. That is offset, to some extent, by the fact that I think SL's visuals and coding are stronger than Primordia's. The writing is my own so I can't judge it.

(2) I would not describe the game as 2/3 finished. It might be more, in that the last third has most of its assets in place, its basic design in place, etc. It might be less, however, because (a) we might need to tear things apart and rework them depending on testers' reactions (or add additional content); (b) it still needs VO, which is a pretty significant undertaking; and (c) things always move in fits and starts, and while right now Vic, James, and I are all going at this full tilt, I am relatively sure one of us will fall out of alignment soon enough (that's the way of the world).

(3) The game is weirdly personal in a way that even Primordia, already a very personal game, isn't. Primordia is basically a concrete (i.e., solid) world, and so no one would ask, "Is it plausible that it would be populated with robots arguing about X, Y, Z?" SL is a psychological world, and thus the question naturally comes up, is it a plausible psyche? For instance, someone might ask, "Why would a psyche be a hodgepodge of Norse mythology, the Bible, Edgar Alan Poe, etc., etc.? That doesn't seem credible." To which I can only say, I can vouch for at least one mind obsessed with such trivia in such proportions. Primordia is a game about principles, but they are pretty universal principles. SL is more a game about regrets, and regrets are always more personal, and while they aren't all my own regrets, those that aren't are adjacent to mine (i.e., the regrets of people I've loved and admired). With regard to puzzle design, I've written before that even when the designer thinks he's being logical, he can only design from his own logic, and thus the real question is how much his idiosyncrasies and the player's overlap. Here, I wonder to some degree whether there will be much overlap between my thematic idiosyncrasies and the player's. While everyone ought to be able to respond to Primordia's question of how a person robot should face the standard adversities of nature, other people, god, and himself, I am skeptical that as many people will care that MRY feels regretful about things. :)

But, anyway, as long as my contribution to the game isn’t horrible, the sheer strength of Vic's art and James's coding* will make for a good experience.

(* In Primordia, James's work was basically only visible when he screwed up -- that is, there weren't any real coding tours de force from the player's standpoint, only invisibly functional code and visibly nonfunctional code. But in SL, James has done some really astonishing things in terms of visual effects and usability (a simple example: being able to use the scroll wheel to change selected item) that will let players better appreciate that the work of our trio has always stood on a tripod.)
 
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Tom Selleck

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I'm a fuckin goddamn adult (no i am not) and if i can finish a narrative-based game in an evening that's a wonderful miracle from the divine lord above, because I also have to cook food, and like, iron shirts and take huge long painful and sweat-infused dumps during my days, so I ain't no kid who can spend 70 hours a week playing Diablo II no more.
 

Darth Roxor

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some really astonishing things in terms of visual effects and usability (a simple example: being able to use the scroll wheel to change selected item)

Cutting edge technology!
 

ghostdog

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:lol: Is this is still AGS under the hood? I guess it's a very helpful engine for 2D adventures, but pretty stiff if you want to add features.
 

ghostdog

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The features I'd really want to see is, first a decent scaling method to get you to your native resolution and then an option for borderless fullscreen.

How hard can it be?
 

ghostdog

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No aspect ratio stretching, I want the original aspect ratio in 1080p (or whatever other native resolution people have). While strangeland looks more hi-res than primordia, I'm guessing its default resolution isn't 1080p, right?

If i recall you can use scaling filters (like x2, x3 etc) in AGS. But even so, you either have to play it in a window, or constantly change monitor resolution when you go in and out of the game which can be pretty annoying.

That's why borderless fullscreen is the best solution for every :obviously: pc user. (It's basically a fullscreen window with no borders, thus no res changes and alt-tab works like a charm).

There are tools that help you run games in borderless fuillscreen, but using them on pesky engines like AGS can be messy.
I'm probably asking too much, AGS customization is crap.
 

jfrisby

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AGS improved the scaling-to-fit features in the last few years (3.4 I think?), most new releases are stretching to fit, preserving aspect. I'm not sure what it's doing to stretch, but it's not demanding you change resolution to fit it's scaling. Still doesn't really like tabbing out, though.
 
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MRY

Wormwood Studios
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Yes, I believe both nu-Primordia and Strangeland resolve this issue, but perhaps not -- alt-tabbing out of full-screen mode is a little slow, which implies perhaps my computer is changing resolutions when it happens, not sure. I've found performance very slightly better in windowed mode on my lousy computer, so I play it that way most of the time. Overall, I think the engine is much, much stronger at handling modern monitors/vid cards than it was when we released Primordia.
 

MRY

Wormwood Studios
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Yes. I'm a big believer in VO, even though I consume it somewhat erratically (often skipping voiced dialogues when I read faster). Good VO can do a really good job establishing characters and lending humor and gravity to written lines. I'll take any help I can get on making my writing come off better. :)
 

Anthedon

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Yes. I'm a big believer in VO, even though I consume it somewhat erratically (often skipping voiced dialogues when I read faster). Good VO can do a really good job establishing characters and lending humor and gravity to written lines. I'll take any help I can get on making my writing come off better. :)

A few handpicked voiced lines are great for breathing life into a character. But VOing everything (including descriptions) is madness. You read three or four times faster than the usual VO pace. You end up "interrupting" characters left and right. Which is awkward and can break the atmosphere and flow of a dialog or scene. Or at least it does for me sometimes.
 

MRY

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Yes. I'm a big believer in VO, even though I consume it somewhat erratically (often skipping voiced dialogues when I read faster). Good VO can do a really good job establishing characters and lending humor and gravity to written lines. I'll take any help I can get on making my writing come off better. :)

A few handpicked voiced lines are great for breathing life into a character. But VOing everything (including descriptions) is madness. You read three or four times faster than the usual VO pace. You end up "interrupting" characters left and right. Which is awkward and can break the atmosphere and flow of a dialog or scene. Or at least it does for me sometimes.
That is 100% how I play, and yet I prefer having VO to not having it. I can't articulate any intelligent reason why that is. I guess even partially voiced lines add something for me. It's funny because I grew up with unvoiced adventures (and unvoiced games, generally) -- the first voiced adventure I played was probably King's Quest VI, which was a good 10-20 games into the genre for me. I've probably played as many unvoiced adventures as voiced ones, but VO still feels almost obligatory for me now. Maybe I've just fallen prey to modern vices.
 

Dualnames

Wormwood Studios
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giphy.gif


Very WIP. The walking animation appears jerky, because it's not optimized and needs more work. Oh yeah, reflections in AGS. Well, I meant more like no trickery reflections, I'm kinda happy with the setup of this room, i don't think reflections need be more impressive than they are, they're already having a subpixel animation to them, and a blur that literally nobody will notice.
 

Dualnames

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Jokes aside, I've been reading through a lot of feedback that you've given us, Rox, and your kind words "I want to donate my house to MRY, so that he gets arrested for tax fraud" keeps me going.
 

Dualnames

Wormwood Studios
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Meanwhile, here's a sexy screenshot, quick save it before MRY notices. It's not that sexy, but it's work I'm doing on the UIs so, that's what u get.

bpJ6cF6.png


There's a flashing cursor, but hard to see, and there's more to the UI than this picture, this is just the picture where you get to put ur name on the save slot. I'll make a youtube video showcasing it, and put it on pornhub.com cause of the sexual pleasure it will give.
 

Dualnames

Wormwood Studios
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Now, on the important side of updates, here's some eye candy, the electrifying gate took about 1-2 days of work.

 

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