Beta 0.8 Discussion [SPOILERS]

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matt
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Re: Beta 0.8 Discussion [SPOILERS]

Post by matt » Mon Aug 25, 2014 9:40 am

Something that I noticed is that the moving animation for young Thomas seems to be a little bit more smooth than adult Thomas who seems to be really stiff all the time.
We've improved our process quite a bit since we created the original Thomas walk cycle, so we plan on revisiting that and fixing it up a bit once we get the rest of the content in game.
I'm not too sure whether it was already out there and I didn't notice before, or if it was a small touch that really got to me.
It was not there before. No one has mentioned it, but when you first go into that hall, you can see the shadow of adult Gabby walking off screen to the right. Then once you get there, you find a mannequin wearing her clothes. (They do look like a trench coat though... D'oh!) The mannequin moves, so it is no longer in the sewing room if you go back there and is standing by the door you came out of. I guess the question is are people seeing the shadow walking towards the sewing room? Without that, I'm not sure the setup is quite as interesting as I had planned.
I think the forest part was even better than the mansion part for the feeling it was trying to convey. The feeling of trying to catch up to Gabby while having a severe case of asthma was frustrating - which I hear was what you were going for, so kudos!
I'm really glad to hear we succeeded there!

With respect to the branch, I'm in a bit of a pickle. If we have an interaction point there, it'd be pretty hidden and inconsistent since there would be no colored object. I want people to make a conscious decision for Thomas to commit suicide rather than just walking up to the edge and seeing what happens. What if I made it so you have to hold the directional button off the edge of the cliff for a second or so? Do you think that would be too hard to find out? In that sense, you'd be kind of "pushing" him off the cliff.

What do you think?

Thanks for your feedback!
-Matt Gilgenbach
Lead Frightener at Infinitap Games

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Re: Beta 0.8 Discussion [SPOILERS]

Post by JPrice » Mon Aug 25, 2014 11:21 am

It's a shame that you couldn't implement some sort of staggering animation that makes it look like he's balancing on the edge, like almost about to fall. Something like this (Although obviously not as cartoonish looking hahaa):
Image

Then from there you could have him fall if the player is pushing towards the edge for a second or two. By having the balancing animation players would think instinctively "Oh crap I shouldn't fall off there, there's an edge that'll probably kill me" and then turn back through the door, at least in theory anyway. Obviously not everyone will do that but I think it's ingrained in enough games that it's kind of universally seen as a sign that the player is going to die if they don't move from the edge. Might help in making the pathway more cryptic if you wanted it to be, although I imagine making an entire new animation for this one section doesn't seem like the most efficient method at tackling the problem haha :)

I like the idea of having you push forward for a second or two before being committed to the plunge off the cliff though. I just would have thought that using that in tandem with the "balancing" idea might convey the idea of the player making Thomas commit suicide, rather than him just doing it immediately. All though like I said that would require making a new animation just for this section which I can't imagine you'd be too thrilled about doing hahaa :P

Oh by the way, just figured I would ask this now. Is it better if I do a full playthrough with a full analysis of improvements now or wait until the ninth level is out so I can go through every level that'll be in the final game? Just curious is all!
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Re: Beta 0.8 Discussion [SPOILERS]

Post by matt » Mon Aug 25, 2014 2:16 pm

Hmmm.. That is a good idea. However, we are planning on redoing the fall to death animation (since we use the same one for the end of Destroyed Dreams), so it looks more intentional and suicidal - rather than a trip. I'm not sure how that'd mesh with a teetering animation, but I guess once we redo that, we'll see if this makes sense.

It's tough to say if now is the "right" time to do a full playthrough for improvements. We are going to be updating pretty much everything with improvements until we are done. In 0.8, we got a few new cool things in Destroyed Dreams as well as all the backer portraits throughout the whole game, so that might give you an incentive to play through them again.

However, we should get a few more cool things in Destroyed Dreams in 0.9 as well as hopefully mansion art improvements. After 0.9, I'm not sure how many builds we are going to do before it's "done", but we plan on getting more interactions in certain levels - probably Lost Child and Destroyed Dreams (I think they need them the most). We'd like to do a lot more for everywhere though, but we'll see how much time we'll have.

I guess that doesn't answer your question though. Unless you are bored, it might be better to wait since 0.9 should hopefully be out early September - hopefully around the 5th?

Thanks for all your help!
-Matt Gilgenbach
Lead Frightener at Infinitap Games

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Re: Beta 0.8 Discussion [SPOILERS]

Post by RightClickSaveAs » Mon Aug 25, 2014 6:12 pm

matt wrote: It was not there before. No one has mentioned it, but when you first go into that hall, you can see the shadow of adult Gabby walking off screen to the right. Then once you get there, you find a mannequin wearing her clothes. (They do look like a trench coat though... D'oh!) The mannequin moves, so it is no longer in the sewing room if you go back there and is standing by the door you came out of. I guess the question is are people seeing the shadow walking towards the sewing room? Without that, I'm not sure the setup is quite as interesting as I had planned.
I did see the shadow figure, I think it's pretty easy to catch, but quick enough that you don't see the full details. Very well done in my opinion! Also I THOUGHT that mannequin wasn't in the hallway before but I wasn't sure. Very subtle stuff, I love it.

matt wrote: With respect to the branch, I'm in a bit of a pickle. If we have an interaction point there, it'd be pretty hidden and inconsistent since there would be no colored object. I want people to make a conscious decision for Thomas to commit suicide rather than just walking up to the edge and seeing what happens. What if I made it so you have to hold the directional button off the edge of the cliff for a second or so? Do you think that would be too hard to find out? In that sense, you'd be kind of "pushing" him off the cliff.
Interesting, I never thought of walking off the cliff as Thomas killing himself, especially since it's a nightmare world. I'm more in the "keep pushing ahead" mode by that point in the level, turning around wouldn't even occur to me if I didn't know already that's how you get one of the branches.

I really like JPrice's teetering animation idea, that would totally make it a conscious choice to throw yourself off the edge. I agree that having a button press there would be confusing, and don't think that's the way to go.

How about using some audio cues as you get close to the edge? Maybe have the asthma sounds kick in as he gets closer to the edge, to drive home that you're doing something not pleasant by walking forward. And/or have a positional low growling coming from down in the darkness to imply that something is waiting for him down there?

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Re: Beta 0.8 Discussion [SPOILERS]

Post by matt » Mon Aug 25, 2014 7:42 pm

I did see the shadow figure, I think it's pretty easy to catch, but quick enough that you don't see the full details. Very well done in my opinion! Also I THOUGHT that mannequin wasn't in the hallway before but I wasn't sure. Very subtle stuff, I love it.
I'm glad to hear it! This level is meant to be pretty subtle, so I'm glad people are picking up on the details.
I really like JPrice's teetering animation idea, that would totally make it a conscious choice to throw yourself off the edge. I agree that having a button press there would be confusing, and don't think that's the way to go.
We'll see how well that would work once we get the new fall animation in. It might look really weird when the animation is no longer a fall. I suppose we could keep the animation as is, but then I don't think it'd really look as deliberate (although it would be deliberate from a user input standpoint.
How about using some audio cues as you get close to the edge? Maybe have the asthma sounds kick in as he gets closer to the edge, to drive home that you're doing something not pleasant by walking forward. And/or have a positional low growling coming from down in the darkness to imply that something is waiting for him down there?
I think it'd be inconsistent to use the asthma since that's a reflection on your stamina... I want it to feel like falling to death is the unpleasant action, so I don't think monster growling would work for that. I find it a bit strange that walking off a cliff seems like the right way to proceed... I was actually worried people wouldn't jump in the hole in the Together at Last branch, but instead view it as a dead end. I wonder if it's one of those video game things where you explore every possibility even if it might have negative consequences. Does anyone remember the Neverhood?
-Matt Gilgenbach
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Re: Beta 0.8 Discussion [SPOILERS]

Post by RightClickSaveAs » Mon Aug 25, 2014 9:14 pm

Speaking for myself, I think it is partly a video game "explore every option even if it's bad" thing. I'll usually die at least once even in games that have death as a game over, just to see what happens.

In this case, I feel it's a little different because of the nightmare nature of the world. You'd think it'd be pretty obvious that running into an abyss would mean death, which is a thing to avoid, and quite possibly it is obvious to everyone but me :) . That wasn't the first thing on my mind for that part though, I didn't really think of it as Thomas giving up and ending it, instead to me it was more about not seeing any other options to progress. Which could be a sort of fatalistic take on it, that might also be in the area of what you're going for.

Also in Lost Child, falling is a way to progress (even if it's completely accidental in that case) to the next area, so people might remember that?

It sounds like a unique problem though. I'd like to see what other people think, because I may be way off the norm here, and don't want to skew the feedback in the wrong direction!

This is the screenshot of that area with my awful scribbles on it marking what went through my head the first time I saw the scene, and the things I tried to do in order from 1 to 4, finally figuring out as the last option that I could go back into the asylum:
Image

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Re: Beta 0.8 Discussion [SPOILERS]

Post by matt » Tue Aug 26, 2014 4:37 pm

Well, in Lost Child, you don't fall intentionally, and the drop doesn't look nearly as far.

Speaking as one who tries every possibility, assuming we changed it so you had to walk in place for a second or so to commit to jumping off the cliff, is that something you'd try initially? Is that something you'd try when you went back looking for branches? My worry is that if we make it so it's timer based, people will give up and not try it again.

Doing branches is hard! haha
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Re: Beta 0.8 Discussion [SPOILERS]

Post by RightClickSaveAs » Tue Aug 26, 2014 6:33 pm

It's something I'd try for at least a couple seconds, longer than that probably not, especially if the game didn't give me any cue that pushing ahead would do something. Walking in place I'd probably take as a sign that nothing's going to happen.

I've been wracking my brain trying to think of suggestions but I don't have much, I wish I could come up with something simple and elegant like Adam Sessler's light through the keyhole in The Coming Storm level! Damn you Adam Sessler, why must you be so awesome in so many ways :P

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Re: Beta 0.8 Discussion [SPOILERS]

Post by JPrice » Wed Aug 27, 2014 5:58 am

I'll have to agree with RightClickSaveAs here, it is rather tricky coming up to a solution for this :? hahaha
I think the walking in place idea is pretty good but if you did that then some players might still fall off by accident, they could be like "Oh well walking here won't do anything-Wait I just fell off, I didn't mean to do that!". Putting an interactable in wouldn't make much sense and it'd be hard to signify that you needed to interact there.

I honestly think the best way to do it is with the teetering animation in tandem with the holding of the button. With that you give the player a warning that they'll fall and whether they want to commit to it or not, but like you said it might not work within your new falling animation so even that idea isn't concrete enough. I guess you'd have to wait and see what changes the new animation brings I suppose, gah doing branches is indeed hard Matt! :lol:
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Re: Beta 0.8 Discussion [SPOILERS]

Post by matt » Wed Aug 27, 2014 12:46 pm

Well, it seems like teetering is more important than having a good fall animation, so maybe I'll start with that and then try and come up with a fall animation to match. Our current one would probably work well with a teeter. I guess you'll have to wait until the next build to see how it works. :)
-Matt Gilgenbach
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