0.4 New enemy discussion [SPOILERS]

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matt
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0.4 New enemy discussion [SPOILERS]

Post by matt »

It is clear that some people are having trouble figuring out the new enemy, so for those who have figured it out, I thought it'd be worth discussing ways to make it easier to figure out or alternate solutions.

I really liked the reactions to the ghost Lydia in "A Coming Storm", and so I wanted to do something along the lines of that. I like the idea of a ghostly apparition appearing, and then saying "NOPE" and running away. Since it's a nightmare, it doesn't have to obey regular rules.

In watching nsane's video (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=T36Bo8t9YYU), it seems that running away from the character was the last thing on his mind.

So here are my thoughts on the manner:
1) Make it so if you leave the room, she never respawns. I was thinking about doing this since you are essentially escaping from her anyway, but if you do that, it seems like you miss out on running away not knowing when she is going to disappear, which is the best part of the enemy.
2) Speed her up, so you have to run. I'm not happy about this either because I like the idea of her slow relentless pace because it emphasizes what terrible shape she's in. (Poor girl!)
3) Make it so it is possible to run around her. It seems like it might be challenging to get it so she mostly kills you, but you can get around her (especially because up/down differences are a bit tricky to perceive)
4) If you fail too many times, make her disappear if you walk away or based on a timer. I guess this is a reasonable solution, but in watching nsane's video, I'm not sure how much that would help. He seemed to keep her on screen, which makes it harder to have her disappear like when you run away... I dunno I suppose it's worth a shot.
5) Just cut her if you fail too many times. This is easy to implement, but it seems undesirable because I would probably have to kill all of them for the rest of the level, which would make it less interesting.

What do you guys think? Any preference? Anything else I'm forgetting?

Thanks!
-Matt Gilgenbach
Lead Frightener at Infinitap Games

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nsane
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Re: 0.4 New enemy discussion [SPOILERS]

Post by nsane »

The solution, to me, seems a bit counter-intuitive (just my opinion). I don't think I would have ever thought to run from it, but not leave the room. I can see the reason for it now and it is an interesting concept.

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AironNeil
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Re: 0.4 New enemy discussion [SPOILERS]

Post by AironNeil »

Maybe if the player fails a curtain amount of times (say five or so) have a hint in the form of a voice in the other side of the room beckoning the player (since I remember hearing the whisper of "wake up" through-out the game, it's not too story breaking). I'm not sure what the voice would say, but I don't think it'd be too hard to implement. I guess it kind of requires headphones, or surround sound for that kind of hint though, and it might not be completely clear either...

Or another idea I have is to have her maybe progressively speed up if she's kept on the screen too long since that seems to be what nsane was doing after a while. Perhaps, have some kind of action or sound she makes (since she's getting angry that you're just luring her over to you like she's a toy; plus, it could be a sound of pain since she's in such bad shape and I feel like it doesn't ruin her image too much) before speeding up so it isn't too surprising; then, make it so all the player has to do is get her off screen since she's going faster. I think the player might get the message that running from her is the solution after that and be able to handle the other ones. The only problem with this solution is that it requires some extra work to put in.

I'm not sure though, what are your thoughts?

verbalfallacy
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Re: 0.4 New enemy discussion [SPOILERS]

Post by verbalfallacy »

As I stated in my post on the Alpha 0.4 build, I honestly found this enemy the easiest to get around out of all of them. I pretty much figured out when I first saw her that there was no real option but to run away from her and hope for the best. I ran until I couldn't hear the sound of the weapon grating against the floor and after a moment of hesitation, went back through the room and found she was gone. Once I figured that out, all I did with each encounter was run back until I could no longer hear her.

I think it's a brilliant new enemy to be honest! Definitely adds in an interesting tactic to deal with it - I like that each enemy has a different method of being dealt with and I think this is actually a great way to deal with this particular enemy considering the circumstances of the level. Thomas is slowly losing it more and it is becoming more difficult to face things (or at least, that's what I'm taking from it). What better way to highlight this fact than to have an enemy where you deal with it by not facing it head on?

In regards to aiding players who just find her (or any enemy for that matter) too difficult (honestly, I found the asylum patients more difficult XD I died more times to them than I can remember), I think perhaps implementing some sort of hint somewhere would be a good way to deal with it (blood writing on the wall of the room you wake in after failing too much?)

Currently, I think the way to deal with her works really well, and I like it thematically so I am a bit opposed to the idea of changing it. She is relentless, but in actuality, like the nightmares themselves, she's not real and if you can distance yourself enough from her, you realise this fact. And so she vanishes. I think it's a fantastic concept!

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AironNeil
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Re: 0.4 New enemy discussion [SPOILERS]

Post by AironNeil »

verbalfallacy wrote:As I stated in my post on the Alpha 0.4 build, I honestly found this enemy the easiest to get around out of all of them. I pretty much figured out when I first saw her that there was no real option but to run away from her and hope for the best. I ran until I couldn't hear the sound of the weapon grating against the floor and after a moment of hesitation, went back through the room and found she was gone. Once I figured that out, all I did with each encounter was run back until I could no longer hear her.
Yeah, I think what you have to actually do to get around her is the easiest action out of the other enemies. Figuring out what to do is probably the hardest out of the enemies though. I assume it's because the solution is so much more different than the other enemies and, unlike the other enemies, the solution doesn't make logical sense in the real world. Of course, since it's a dream it doesn't have to make logical sense but it is kind of backwards for some people. I remember I died about four times before trying to run myself since it was such a different kind of solution to other video games.

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gagaplex
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Re: 0.4 New enemy discussion [SPOILERS]

Post by gagaplex »

As I say in my comments in the other thread, you should make it impossible to not get the candle back, because that was my first thought of how to avoid her. So that'll cut out some of the confusion I at least had already.

As for figuring out how to deal with her, how about putting lights in that particular corridor, which then turn off in the far part of the corridor and, as she moves towards us, more and more lights turn off (kind of the reverse of what happened in the second level), so it's not just her advancing on us but a wall of darkness? It might make the point clearer that going forward is useless here, as there's only her and the advancing darkness behind her.

Once that point has been made, the rest of the level can be in complete darkness again (except for the candle we carry, of course), as the player will then already know how to deal with her.

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JPrice
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Re: 0.4 New enemy discussion [SPOILERS]

Post by JPrice »

Alright seeing as I was one of the people who struggled with the new enemy I can say that the problem is probably two fold.

The first is communicating the fact that this enemy is one that you need to run away from. This one's probably one of the easier ones to fix as you just need to put something behind her that states "Hey you probably shouldn't try to get past her".
gagaplex wrote:As for figuring out how to deal with her, how about putting lights in that particular corridor, which then turn off in the far part of the corridor and, as she moves towards us, more and more lights turn off (kind of the reverse of what happened in the second level), so it's not just her advancing on us but a wall of darkness? It might make the point clearer that going forward is useless here, as there's only her and the advancing darkness behind her.
I think that this is actually a pretty good idea of dealing with the problem so you might want to pinch it hahaha

The second problem is that once you run far enough away from her, thus making her despawn, there's no real indication or incentive to push the player going back the way they came. Like naturally the first thing I would do would in fact be to run away from her yes, but after that I don't think I would want to run back into that enemy's direction. It just doesn't seem all that logical in my eyes, just being like "Whew I think I got away from her, guess I should just walk back the way she was chasing me and hope she's not there!" would probably be the last thing on my mind to do. I would probably end up back tracking into the previous rooms first before thinking of going back into the direction I was initially going and where the immediate danger was. Fixing this however seems to be a little tricky, as it'd be a little hard to communicate that the enemy has indeed disappeared and you can progress. My first idea was to have her spawn on the side that you were running into but you already utilised that later on in the build so that's out of the window hahaa. I would say actually that if it were possible, maybe you could either make the doors that are available for back tracking either lock behind you or disappear completely. This makes the idea of back tracking seem futile and forces you to progress forward in that corridor. Even this though may not necessarily teach players that you need to run away from the enemy until you can't hear them and then proceed back to where you were initially going. It's kind of a tough nut to crack you know! Hahaha :lol:
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gagaplex
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Re: 0.4 New enemy discussion [SPOILERS]

Post by gagaplex »

JPrice wrote:The second problem is that once you run far enough away from her, thus making her despawn, there's no real indication or incentive to push the player going back the way they came.
That's a good point. There should be some kind of indication she's gone. I guess you could make her give a "scream of frustration" of sorts when you've run away far enough, that would let people know at least that she's no longer chasing you. Knowing that, the player might then decide to see what's going on where she was, especially as such a scream might tell us: We got away. If she's still there, we can get away again. But then I'm not sure her screaming would necessarily be taken as the intended "scream of frustration" to other players... I just know that in a lot of games where monsters are going after you, they tend to give some kind of sound to denote when they've given up chasing you (zombies, monsters in action-RPGs, what have you), so that's where I'm getting the idea from.

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RightClickSaveAs
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Re: 0.4 New enemy discussion [SPOILERS]

Post by RightClickSaveAs »

OK I'm glad to see I wasn't the only one having problems! I did get through eventually, but I tried all sorts of stuff first. I was recording when I ran into her, so here's a video of my fresh reactions to that part. I edited it down a few minutes, you'll see a big cut near the beginning where I was just backtracking through the beginning of the level trying to find another path. I'm sorry in advance for my mic quality and voice, the first can and probably should be upgraded but the other is never going to win any awards: http://youtu.be/MISmWVqCO4Q

I think coming out of the asylum level everyone is still in the "I have to hide from or outsmart this monster somehow" mode.

My first reaction was to run, but I turned around when I saw she didn't speed up. The first thing I thought when I noticed that is "OK now how do I get around her". She moves too slow to make you feel immediate "run away" danger, so it comes across more like a puzzle you need to figure out.
AironNeil wrote: Or another idea I have is to have her maybe progressively speed up if she's kept on the screen too long since that seems to be what nsane was doing after a while. Perhaps, have some kind of action or sound she makes (since she's getting angry that you're just luring her over to you like she's a toy; plus, it could be a sound of pain since she's in such bad shape and I feel like it doesn't ruin her image too much) before speeding up so it isn't too surprising; then, make it so all the player has to do is get her off screen since she's going faster. I think the player might get the message that running from her is the solution after that and be able to handle the other ones. The only problem with this solution is that it requires some extra work to put in.
I like this, I think this would be a good possible solution.

I think making her just disappear when you leave the room, rather or not you run far enough away, would solve the problem, but it would be kinda confusing, as it doesn't feel like you really solved anything.

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matt
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Re: 0.4 New enemy discussion [SPOILERS]

Post by matt »

Well, shoot. I wrote up a bunch of things, and somehow pressed the wrong keyboard combination, and all of it was lost forever. :(

Let me see if I can recreate all my nice well thought out response.... Firstly, it seems like people have different expectations for the enemy than I do. I don't really see the enemy as a puzzle or obstacle to overcome. I think of her more like the ghost that appears in "A Coming Storm". She is there to startle you and make you tense, but not really to challenge you. Obviously it is challenging for many people, and that is attentional.
I think making her just disappear when you leave the room, rather or not you run far enough away, would solve the problem, but it would be kinda confusing, as it doesn't feel like you really solved anything.
Honestly, the more I think about that, I think it is a pretty good solution. While I love the feeling of "oh crap! Run away!" and sauntering slowly to the door doesn't really capture that, it does preserve my idea of it being a ghost or hallucination and very nightmarish.

So I had a nice response to all the suggestions, but they are lost in the ether. Let me see what I can remember!

The voice is a cool idea, but as mentioned, without good stereo separation it won't work. I suppose we could do something generic like "run away". However, the problem is that we aren't localizing the VO, so we'd have to subtitle it, which then seems like a very gamey hint.

The idea of turning off the lights and/or removing the doors seem like it wouldn't necessarily indicate you to run. If we remove the doors, then it can be frustrating because you can just get trapped, and she'll kill you.

Having the character speed up or make noises like she's frustrated or giving up would make her feel less indifferent. Indifference is an emotional theme in the game. I like the idea that she just doesn't care about you - except once you run into her. Then you feel her wrath. As far as her making a noise when she disappears, my favorite part is that you don't know she's REALLY gone. You don't hear the noise. Did she disappear? Maybe she's still out there.

I am still open to suggestions, but here's what I'm thinking of doing to try and remove the challenge but also keep the ghostly/hallucination feel:
1) Kill her if you leave the hallway. It isn't quite the reaction I want, but I think it still gives her that ghostly/hallucination feeling that I am happy with.
2) Stretch out the first encounter hallway. This will give you more time to escape her.
3) Have her time out in addition to stopping based on distance. That way, if you just walk away down the new longer hallway, she will just go away on her own.
4) Maybe play with her speed a little? Perhaps that would hint to people that you have to run. I really like her slow, deliberate pace.
5) Force you to pick up the candle since that wasn't meant to be a puzzle solution.

Do you think that will be enough? Any other ideas?

Thank you so much for all your suggestions!
-Matt Gilgenbach
Lead Frightener at Infinitap Games

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