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Messages - Doan Sephim

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1
I would argue that this "freedom" is mostly an illusion. A parser or a P&C interface is only as complete as the designer makes it. There are a LOT of parser games that simply fall back on genaric responses.
I agree with Collector here. While I generally prefer the parser games, I've played a lot where there's little care put into responding to lots of different input. Some of that, at least from my own experience, is due to heap concerns (I had to trim down a lot of input in my main script, for example), but a lot of it is insufficient play-testing.

The one thing I actually like about parser that PNC doesn't and really can't do is making dialog options more player driven. With the parser it's up to the player to play detective a bit and zero in on important words/images to keep the conversation going in ways to find out new things. I actually really enjoy doing this, but PNC conversations are pre-set and all plotted out so that the detective work is gone.

That's not to say the parser is "better" because the PNC dialog allows a better (or at least more reasonable) dialog tree flow. It also allows far better "back-and-forth" conversations, and if the writer is really good, like a Tim Schafer, the dialog can become one of the best parts of the game. If you've ever played Psychonauts (which isn't an adventure game per-se, but its dialog trees are essentially identical), you'll discover dialog that is just too delightful to skip. But if the dialog is boring, then I get put off by the branching dialog trees and find it to be a chore to click through them. That's essentially why I tend to enjoy the parser a little more - it asks me to be more active.

As Collector said, "a parser or a P&C interface is only as good as the game's design allows. Which is better is completely subjective." I would just add that each has its own inherent strengths and limitations and being aware of them can help you exploit the good and circumvent the bad.

2
Great list, NilG. I've been playing through some of the fan-made SCI games lately and there's a lot that can be learned from them as well:

One thing that stood out to me after playing Legend of the Lost Jewel Demo is that a lot of the negative aspects of puzzle design can be forgiven if the art and animations are good. The demo has almost nothing in terms of puzzles that cannot be solved very simply, there is no plot to speak of, and there are no other characters in the game to interact with, but after beating the demo, I still wanted more to play because there was so much attention to detail in the artwork and animations.

I'm not saying that art/animations are more important than those other things, but the game gains a lot of grace because of it.

1. So I'd add to the list, using text descriptions in place of animation. Text is easy, but animations add so much perceived production value and make the game so much more fun to interact with. Without them, the game gets to feel too mechanical.

2. Fetch quest puzzles. Don't get me wrong, you can always have parts in the game where you need to deliver an item from A to B, but when they become the premier puzzle mechanic of the game with little to no variation on obstacles in the way, the game becomes extremely boring.

3. Out-of-place-puzzles. Here I can use my own game as an example. Betrayed Alliance has a few puzzles that don't really have much relation to the world or story-line. I use a slide-block puzzle to get into an area, and there's really no justification for it. A lot of the puzzles work well, but some of them are a bit out-of-place. This is something I want to amend in the second installment.


3
This time you can build an installer yourself with my NSIS Publisher plugin for Companion 3. When you are finished with the new version, that is.
Cool. I downloaded the plug-in from the wiki. Thanks for the help with this!

4
Thanks guys! It's so much better when fresh eyes are on it.

5
Would anyone like to playtest and give me feedback?

No pressure  ;)

6
Sorry to Resurrect an old thread, but I'm working on another patch. I'm trying to make this game better and better to prepare for bigger things (Betrayed Alliance Book2 in particular).
Here's the current list. I plan on recording a Let's Play of the game to find more bugs/other things needing fixing:
Quote
•   Should be an option to turn off music
•   Add difficulty settings: Easy and Hard
o   Hard includes more intricate parser commands
o   Easy includes ability to skip some puzzles (slide block puzzle)
•   Draw new dead thumbnails
o   Ogre killing you
o   Ghost killing you
o   Bugs eating you
o   sarcophagus
•   If teleport to WELL room from WELL room, Ego disappears.
•   If teleport to well rom from adjacent room, not teleport animation (goes for graveyard as well)
•   If top waterspring active in GHOST puzzle, game freezes upon leaving room
•   Crystal ball cannot be interacted with
•   Wizard Room – Wizard’s windows not colored
•   Cliff w/vines. Click on graveyard (word “landscape” repeated twice)
•   “Use marble” should work to get boulder down
•   “Pry open slab (with shovel)” should work in mausoleum
•   Block puzzle (“There seems to be a missing piece”) text should be lowered
•   “Ask about secret” doesn’t work for Sammy
•   Add animation of picking up marbles at meat seller’s house
•   “Look” in Attic doesn’t mention anything about bookshelf
•   “Take Quiz” = “not close enough” – no need to walk to quiz.
•   “Take Kite” = walk to kite and take it, not “Ur not close enough.”
•   “Search body” of dead man in face cave is too verbose. Break it up
•   “Search body” for skeleton doesn’t work
•   Directions for blow dart unclear
•   No message after hitting water button leaves things unclear
•   Allow shooting dart at flies – animation of them dodging?
•   After shooting water to get rid of flies, perhaps a message?
•   Autosave before going into the mausoleum pit.
•   Pry open sarcophagus doesn’t work
•   “Use crystal ball” doesn’t have a response
•   No Pick-up animation in Magic room (heap issue?)
•   “go in hole/cave” doesn’t work at pond area
•    “It’s definitely a rock” message strangely off center [hermit outside], same with tree
•   Cliff area, can’t read sign far away is stupid
•   Talking to soldier who patrols the bridge should be easier (you shouldn’t have to be so close)
•   “Look at pot” should include bend over animation (heap issue?)
•   “Go in mouth/cave” should work. “Crawl in” should work
•   No pick up animation in cavern for marble. No mention of what marble obtained.
•   Skeleton should no block ego
•   “Use dart gun” and “blow dart gun” yields no response (which room?)
•    “take paper” doesn’t read paper in sarcophagus cave
•   “look at ground” doesn’t mention bar
•   Turner on safe should have hint that you can click it
•    “item region” doesn’t seem to work on bridge with guard
•   Scientist’s house…door doesn’t appear as a door
•   Door puzzle – have a wrong solution Print when all pieces are down
•   Eat pork/chicken gives no hint
•   Death image against Ogre is wrong
•   Bugs eat even after you hit button?
•   “activate trap” should work for arrow trap
o   Activating trap says “you’re not close enough” – this is dumb
•   “You may pass” phrase with goggles doesn’t work when lever picture is active
•   Stairwell – walking after defeating armored can be altered by user input – problem
•   Saving in the underground is broken (seems to work ok for me)
•   Puzzle points in character stats not equal what’s on menu bar

•   Librarian could give hints on where to find missing books
•   “Fish” or “go fishing” yield no response
o   Music from Leah’s area not turning off when at pond area
•   “Ask about woman” to Leah yields useless response
•   Front of Castle – some sort of message that it is not the preferred entrance
•   Ran out of heap in Sarah’s secret sanctuary
•   No hint to ask Bobby about hair (perhaps a list of missing books is posted)
•   After digging up ring – there should be a pick-up animation (and a hole left over?)
•   No reasonable hint that Bobby has book about hair
•   Cave of whispers ghost pathfinding is broken after latest fix / also doesn’t kill you
•   Additional room to add suspense would be good
•   Hermit home – right click look on characters just tells you names
•   Face cave does not look menacing…bright colors, nothing foreboding about it.
•   Cavern of madness, no water waves
•   Scientist room
o   Explanation of Goggles seems weird “anything from anywhere”
o   After getting Goggles, give some hint what player should do next
•   No outside door on Dock house
•   After giving letter to Deborah, maybe she tries to sell you food
•   Add some kind of clue to let player know to move table over plate on ground
Yellows currently fixed


7
The Games and other Sierra Adventure stuff / Re: What are we working on?
« on: November 13, 2019, 08:04:44 AM »
I'm composing the soundtrack for the Coles' next game Summer Daze at Hero-U.
That's awesome! Best of luck!

8
SCI Development Tools / Re: SCI01 Template Game
« on: September 17, 2019, 10:40:24 AM »
I assume there'd be a hint in the table view? A bunch of patches lying around would be the most likely.
That is the case. Suppose I edit a patch. Will that be a problem?

9
SCI Development Tools / Re: SCI01 Template Game
« on: September 17, 2019, 10:01:27 AM »
Quick question. I just opened up the template game and have a question.

There appears to be duplicates of resources, like views. When I  rebuild resources, they persist.

I'm not used to this and I don't know if it has advantages, disadvantages, or is completely neutral.

What's the purpose?

10
No, you just need to download the template here. As Kawa said, you can then put it in the TemplateGame folder, and it'll be there in the New Game dialog.
Done! Thanks.
You'd have to change from Studio to Sierra script. I designed my templates to be as close to the original Sierra source as possible.
Also, keep in mind that the 900 script range and script 255 are specifically intended for system scripts, which should not be edited (except for the Menu script). If you need to make custom properties for things like the inventory or ego, you should instead create subclasses and instances in the game-specific scripts.
Luckily, I recently converted everything from Studio to Sierra Script, so that won't be a problem. It'll take me some time to tinker around a bit, and hopefully I'll be able to get back to you on the conversion progress.

11
An idea could be to move to SCI0.1 (which is what QFG2 uses).
This is an interesting idea, and I have to say the addtional heap and path functions are of interest to me. I wonder how cumbersome the transcription of my project to that would be?

In fact, I don't really know how to do that at all, as the options when creating a game with Companion is SCI0 or SCI1.1.

Am I missing something?

12
One criticism, looks like the water wheel isn't aligned properly with the building (top looks tilted inward toward the building).
Good catch. That will be a tough one to fix, but I think you are correct. Doing perspective on a prop can be tough sometimes.
Why not also move onto SCI1.1 for it?
My primary reason is just that those were my favorites of the Sierra games. I always liked the parser and I enjoy the limited palate.

Secondary reasons would be that I will get to reuse a ton of resources from the previous game and that I'm already very familiar with the tools.

13
Disclaimer:
This game is not done, or even nearly done; It's closer to 1% complete at this time. There is no timeline to completion or guarantee thereof.

Development Backstory:
Six years ago was the release of the first part of Betrayed Alliance. While ending on a cliffhanger, I never thought I'd work on it again. I just wanted to release something that would justify all the time I had put into it. Six months after release, I put together a walkthrough and noticed some bugs and issues and filed them away. Two years or so later, I patched the game and had more than a few people playing the game and asking if I'd work on it again. The answer was always, “No.”
But that's when I started getting ideas. Every once in a while, I'd pick it up and work on something. The bug would bite me, and not an irritating programming one, but the creative one that pushed me with motivation.
On and off, I am working on the sequel.

Some Artwork:
After seeing how excellent the artwork was in the fan-made SCI-like project "The Crimson Diamond" I spent some time looking more carefully at some of the artwork from the old SCI games to get a better grasp on how to make my artwork better. One big thing I walked away with was I almost never used the color Black but it was heavily used in a lot of the old games. I doubt I'll be able to reach the level of the old games or the excellent work seen in the Crimson Diamond, but I think I've made some progress.
The Forest are that our heroes escape to at the end of Book 1:



Aside from the forest, I have to fill in much of the lower half the game's map (Only the top half was created/utilized for the first game):



The Southern Castle (Nothing to show of this area yet)

Getting to reuse areas from the 1st game feels great as I won’t have to recreate those resources (although slight alterations will probably take place)

Expectations:
I'm just posting this as a place to post artwork, ideas, and milestones.

I'm open to all forms of criticism.

14
Awesome! Always good to see new stuff.

I played a little bit today and I enjoy the atmosphere of the game. It didn't take long for me to get lost on what I'm supposed to do. I'll play more soon and let you know more when I get farther.

Thanks for the demo. I'm always happy to see new stuff like this.

15
SCI Syntax Help / Re: Can someone explain Flags to me?
« on: June 12, 2019, 02:39:06 PM »
Yes correct, but you need to include all the places in Main.sc or Game.sc or whatever too (scripts that are always loaded).
I see, so if I have any of those procedure already called in the default scripts, those will always be adding towards that 75-time limit.

Even so, it seems likely to me, that 75 is a pretty high number of calls for average use, so I think it will ultimately save.

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