270 - Double Fine Adventure Documentary

Developer diaries about creating Neverending Nightmares.
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matt
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270 - Double Fine Adventure Documentary

Post by matt » Wed May 06, 2015 10:29 am

In this video, I discuss how great Two Player Productions' Double Fine Adventure documentary is. As a gamer, it's hard to imagine how your favorite games get made, but DFA Documentary pulls no punches and shows many of the challenges of creating a game. I talk about why it is so compelling and how it mirrors common problems throughout the industry.



If you didn't back Broken Age, fear not! You can watch the documentary here. If you are interested in "how the sausage is made", it's the best thing to watch. I had hoped my developer diaries would be as compelling, but without showing interactions between the team and snappy editing, I think it'd be hard to match that.
-Matt Gilgenbach
Lead Frightener at Infinitap Games

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RightClickSaveAs
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Re: 270 - Double Fine Adventure Documentary

Post by RightClickSaveAs » Wed May 06, 2015 5:26 pm

The documentary has been AWESOME! Also, good news, they mentioned in update #49 they're doing at least one more documentary episode. I'm assuming this one will cover the reception of Act 2, which I can't wait. I loved seeing that in the Act 1 launch episode, watching Tim and Greg staring at the Steam sales numbers and reviews as the game launched.

I felt Act 2 wasn't as solid as Act 1; you can see some of the parts where it seems rushed. The schedule was so tight, as seen in the latest documentary episode, I get the feeling things had to be changed and cut pretty significantly. I hope they cover that in the next one.

And what did you think of the puzzles? I wasn't too excited about the switch to a harder puzzle style, but apparently a lot of Act 1 feedback was calling for that, so this was partly in response to that.

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matt
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Re: 270 - Double Fine Adventure Documentary

Post by matt » Thu May 07, 2015 5:20 pm

I recorded a video talking about Broken Age, which I am going to upload tomorrow.
I don't want to spoil my next developer diary, but personally, I didn't enjoy the puzzle difficulty.

I think sometimes listening to what people say can be dangerous because sometimes people don't know what they want. In the documentary, you could see the focus tests didn't go super smoothly due to the puzzle difficulty. While people may SAY they want harder puzzles because old adventure games had them, they may be remembering them with rose colored glasses. I love Sam and Max: Hit the Road, but I don't think I ever would have thought of putting a hand on a golf ball grabber and sticking it into the world's largest ball of yarn on my own. I replayed Sam and Max many years after I originally played it, and I was surprised that I remembered many of the solutions to the game since they were so funny. I would hate to play a new game that esoteric.

Perhaps people wanted harder puzzles but they overcompensated too much? Overall, I thought the first act had an almost perfect difficulty. I think I looked a few things up in a walkthrough, but mostly, I was able to figure things out without too much trouble. Maybe I am just spoiled by Telltale Games - although their more classic adventure games (Sam and Max, Monkey Island, Strong Bad, etc) still required me to use a walkthrough.
-Matt Gilgenbach
Lead Frightener at Infinitap Games

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evilkinggumby
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Re: 270 - Double Fine Adventure Documentary

Post by evilkinggumby » Fri May 08, 2015 8:42 am

Ya know what threw me in Sam & Max? not the part you mentioned in the biggest ball of twine but using the bent wrench on the metal fish (while climbing inside) so you float down the river and get "caught" by the woody allen fisherman ... when i finally figure di tout by sheer clicking and trying everything i facepalmed.

I have to agree, I think a lot of gamers don't quite know what they want (as much as I am shooting my own foot saying this). I see gamers talking about how much they miss the old dsays when NES games were SUPER HARD and there was no hand holding, but if a game is similarly difficult they don't enjoy it nowadays and walk away. Focus testing can help but if you take people's comments to close to hjeart and shift the focus entirely base don that.. yeah.. can nab you some big mistakes.

Not sur ewhy but this all reminds me of Homer SImspons's self designed ultimate family car, the Canyonero lol

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7ZeFDe44Ddo
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[I am Evilkinggumby on DeviantArt and Steam if you want to looks me up!]

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RightClickSaveAs
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Re: 270 - Double Fine Adventure Documentary

Post by RightClickSaveAs » Fri May 08, 2015 5:54 pm

I never played the original Sam and Max, just the new Telltale episodes. I'm tempted to go check them out, but I don't know if that puzzle style would keep me interested any longer. I've recently tried to replay old adventure games, but have completely lost the desire for most of them at this point.
matt wrote: I think sometimes listening to what people say can be dangerous because sometimes people don't know what they want. In the documentary, you could see the focus tests didn't go super smoothly due to the puzzle difficulty. While people may SAY they want harder puzzles because old adventure games had them, they may be remembering them with rose colored glasses.
This is an excellent point, and I've heard this sentiment from other game developers on the internet. People aren't always able to articulate WHY they don't like something if they play it and don't like it, or play it and like it but think it would be better if something were different or changed.

The most common complaints about Act I seemed to be "too short" and "too easy". Act II seems like a direct response to that, they made it more difficult and therefore increased the length by quite a bit.

Anyway, I see you have the new video up so I'll follow you over to that thread and blather on about it some more!

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matt
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Re: 270 - Double Fine Adventure Documentary

Post by matt » Mon May 11, 2015 5:13 pm

The Canyonero is amazing, but Homer actually designed "The Homer":
Image

The original Sam and Max is hilarious and brilliant, but I can't imagine playing it without a walkthrough. I totally forgot about the fish thing. I don't think I would have ever figured it out, but if you bought certain versions of the game, it comes with the hint book I think, so maybe I didn't have to. haha

I think "too short" is a complaint that you'll always get unless you create Dark Souls, The Witcher, or a 60+ hour game. I don't think our next game will be much longer than Neverending Nightmares (hopefully a little) but with minimal to no branching, so people don't "miss" hidden content. Creating content is expensive unless you are creating it procedurally (and even then it's difficult to make it always interesting), so as a developer, it is often a trade off between creating something shorter and high quality or something lame that takes a while to beat. Hell, Retro/Grade takes something like 14 hours minimum to 100%, but it was still too short because we didn't have enough songs compared to Rock Band... :-/
-Matt Gilgenbach
Lead Frightener at Infinitap Games

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