Author Topic: agigames.com  (Read 30859 times)

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Offline Raf

Re: agigames.com
« Reply #30 on: April 26, 2011, 05:37:20 PM »
I just showed Klownstein's Gourd of Beans to that same AGS guy. After getting it to work (had to explain him that template.com is the interpreter, and when he got an not enough memory error, to use Nagi), he played it and said he had to reconcider 'bout AGI.

What we need most, is some great games (we already got plenty of them. That AGS guy was already commenting on how many in the AGI list looked great. Didn't show him the SCI list yet), and various ways of letting people know it actually exists.

To let people know AGI exists -- and to let them see what's made with it, instead of sticking within their prejudices -- I can use the Hare. I could also ask some people (mainly AGDI and Phoenix Online) if they don't mind mentioning some of our games. If AGI and SCI games get regular mentions by those two, it should help as well.

Allowing people to have a taste online (I'm thinking using that Sarien online as a try-before-you-download kind of thing) might help as well.

Offline gumby

Re: agigames.com
« Reply #31 on: April 26, 2011, 09:47:45 PM »
I know that the main reason that I began developing in SCI (haven't tried AGI) was all about the nostalgia for the Sierra games.  That's tough to overcome - it is an aging community, and the number of people interesting in making games & who remember the AGI/SCI platforms must be shrinking quite rapidly.

So what sets AGI/SCI games (playing & developing) apart from the other engines?  I don't know anything about the other engines firsthand, but it seems that the other engines are 'more modern'.  Flashy games come out of them, and frankly that's a bit daunting when considering approaching them.  The relatively limited graphics was another reason I was drawn to begin developing in SCI.

Another reason is the parser.  Yeah, I know... I'm probably in the minority here, but I appreciate the 'text-based' approach.  In fact, given the choice between playing a text adventure & a graphical one, I probably would take the text-based one more often than not.  So I suppose I'm at the other end of the spectrum, interested in games that are even more antiquated (at least in age of the genre) than typical AGI/SCI.

So what else sets our communities apart from the other choices out there?  I think if we can adequately highlight the reasons to develop (and play) these engines, I think more people will come.

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Offline Scavenger

Re: agigames.com
« Reply #32 on: April 27, 2011, 01:17:48 PM »
So what sets AGI/SCI games (playing & developing) apart from the other engines?  I don't know anything about the other engines firsthand, but it seems that the other engines are 'more modern'. 

I've had first hand experience with a number of other engines, and I've been following this community for quite some time now. I primarily use AGS, but sometimes I like to use other engines, depending on what the project requires. I'm growing to like SCI, and though I'm still an outsider I may be able to lend a fresh perspective.

SCI in particular stands up quite well for a couple of reasons:

- Native MT-32 & Adlib support. It is one of the only engines ever to support these wonderful synths (the other being SCUMM, and we all know how well ScummC/ScummGen is coming along). While some people might argue that General MIDI is probably more widespread and accepted, these two are the voices of adventure games. If we have a game that showcases this, like Space Quest III did many years ago, people might take notice - showing that beautiful synth music isn't a lost art. Something that stretches SCI to it's very limit artwise and soundwise. Something that stops people in their tracks and say "That engine made THAT!?". I've noticed, when I've been looking for videos of AGI games, people are annoyed at how rudimentary the sound is. If we show them it's more than just bleepy bloop, they'll come around.

- Script based object generation. Something that AGS lacks that older engines like SCI doesn't is the scripting language. Prop, animation and actor creation in SCI is more flexible and scalable than AGS ever could be (since AGS has a hard limit on most things and stuff is static rather than dynamic). You could potentially procedurally create rooms (with some difficulty) in SCI where in AGS you could not. SCI is a very sophisticated scripting language.

- Ultimate portability. While ScummVM support is still patchy for fangames, the basework is there. Anything that runs ScummVM (or even runs the original SCI/AGI games), can run new games made with it. AGS recently (as in, today) became open source, so we might lose a little ground there, but it would take ages for anything to be done with it. SCI is already complete.

- Low memory footprint. As with the portability, SCI and AGI games are tiny. They're miniscule. They don't require beefy computers in order to run - they just require an engine that's 50kb in size. AGS games require a lot more processing power than zippy ole SCI, meaning that SCI games can be run on even the most stripped down netbook or phone, so long as the interpreter can run on it. I also love that even some of the biggest games can't even break 10mb. A fully voiced game might not even exceed a single CD's worth.

However, this is tempered by the drawbacks of the engine, which stop people from even considering AGI/SCI as a platform, drawbacks we cannot ignore:

- Lack of later version support. SCI1 & 2 is where SCI had the stuff most of the people nowadays grew up with: voice acting, native mouse support, VGA graphics with full motion cutscenes, and for some people, SVGA. Sure, EGA is all well and good, and I'm a big fan of it myself, but when most people think Adventure Game, they think of VGA graphics. SCI looked like it was going to boom once SCI Studio VGA was announced, but since it was stillborn, I've noticed the whole shebang become more abandoned. If only there was some way of finishing what was started! SCI Companion is so good as a program, I just wish it supported SCI1&2. And I bet a lot of other people do, too (since our current generation of hobbyists grew up with them). This is what kept me from the program for so long. I'd come and browse the websites that dealt with it, waiting for that one update that would say "We can make SCI1 games now, woo!" and then I would make a game with it. That day never came. It makes me quite sad, really. You'd probably get loads more people if SCI Companion compiled for the later engines, but those same people would probably be needed to do it. Since there's noone really working on it, people will think that SCI is basically done with. I don't want that to happen. As stuck in the past as we are, I think by expanding the amount of past we're stuck in, we could potentially gather a whole new audience! AGS's 8bit support is dire compared to a real VGA engine. We could sneak in there.

- The documentation is pretty scattered. AGS is what I'd call the benchmark for help files. Nailhead AGI's logic documentation is also pretty good, but SCI's documentation is confusing and spread over several sites, with some links leading absolutely nowhere (the tutorials section on the site has a few, with dead images to boot). It needs some cleaning up and clarifying, especially the script tutorials, which are the most important part. The Sierrahelp wiki strangely renders all text in code blocks really really unreadably tiny, too (on Firefox). It's gotta all be cleaned up, put in one place, and for best effect, bundled with SCI companion in a chm file.

- The games have no exposure! I'm sure there are plenty of great games in the AGI and SCI lists, but on this website, they have a half-size screenshot and no description. Just a title and a download. I'd like to see games get their own page, with a full sized screenshot (It's only 320x200, no harm done) and a quick review of the game, showing us what the game is all about, i.e a synopsis.

You could also make youtube videos of your favorite parts of the new games, since everyone loves to see games move, and innovation is hard to get across in a screenshot! Game walkthroughs (to show off AGI/SCI's powerful programming!), video tutorials, and networking with other game communities (AGS is a particularily nice one, and another community grow out of it  - DAGE, which focuses on Telltale style games) could increase the amount of people who come here - showing the world that SCI is waking from dormancy into full bloom, rather than dying a slow death. Bring the community's work forth for the new generation. I'd love to see videos of Gourd of the Beans and AGI Combat on Youtube! Making people try games out firsthand is the best way, but letting people see the power of the engine secondhand is still a good way to go! Once I'm done with making my game, I'd love to help with this.

Before we go on about cloud computing, web based design programs, and hype, we have to focus on the foundations. Does AGI/SCI have what people want in a game engine? How to we communicate what we can do, and what we can do in the future, to our potential audiences?

I'm sorry for typing such a long post. x3 I'm not very good at brevity. To cut everything short, while I love this engine  and want to make games for it, SCI would be the perfect engine for me if it supported SCI1&2, right now it is good but not featured enough for me to want to use it all the time (especially for my other projects), and I feel this is what is holding back a lot of people (since there are lots of artists who want to show off their pixel art, and EGA art is... niche, at best. Double-wide EGA art doubly so). It supports many things I'd want in my games (especially the capability for sound). SCI and AGI suffer from a lack of exposure and need channels of interest more in line with today's audience (videos, full size screenshots, reviews), and better documentation.

I hope to see this community flourish! :3

Offline Raf

Re: agigames.com
« Reply #33 on: April 27, 2011, 03:26:02 PM »
Sounds
The blibs and bloobs of sound can be fixed by showing off The Scorposer's work on AGI / SCI game music. That guy's a genius when it comes to getting the most out of it, and never really seemed to have much trouble making songs within these limitations. Others who made games are no musicians at all and just made random blibs and bloobs til they thought it sounded more or less ok (Failrate did so with Voodoo Girl). That's the stuff we should NOT show off, music-wise ;D

Graphics
Graphically, I think even AGI graphics can be impressive, if done right. That AGS guy I showed the list of games immediately noticed several games that looked great. Stuff like Go West Young Hippy, Caitlyn's Destiny and Enclosure should help big time. When he tried The Gourd of Beans, he had to admit it was on par with the best of AGS games. So basically, we should show off the best graphics both engines got to offer, and it'll blow most people's minds -- even if it's "just" EGA

Engine
For SCI, it's true that alot of people left due to SCI VGA support taking so long and eventually getting abandoned. But still, I believe both AGI and SCI already offer all that people look for in an engine -- except if they want to go 3D or such, obviously. AGI scripting's REALLY easy to get into, even as a non-programmer, so you can focus on making your game instead of coding. Dunno 'bout SCI scripting, but my bet is that, once you know the basics of programming, it should be easy to pick up as well. Basically, people want sit down, start a program up and start making games without going through tutorials or doing low-end coding like defining their objects or such (not that that's even low-end, but you get my point). They also want flexibility, meaning if they decide to make a Zelda-style game, they should be able to do it. If they want to make a racing game, they should be able to do it. If you check all the mini-game arcade sequences in both AGI and SCI out, it should be pretty obvious that that's possible. People just don't realize that, that's all.

Tools
The tools're what's the nasty part. For AGI, you got Picedit that's the big boogieman. It's a great tool if you know how to use it, but people don't want to spend time and effort learning how to use it, especially if they already're able to use, say, Photoshop.

For SCI, the painful part is that SCI Studio crashes all the time. I've tried it, back in the days, and turned back to AGI because I got frustrated with the thing constantly crashing. Couldn't make anything that way.

Main issue
The main problem, I think, is exposure. Alot of people've never heard of the two engines. Those who have heard of it, got plenty of prejudices, but have never actually given the things a try. If we can get more exposure, more people'll be likely to give things a try, and those prejudices'll slowly change. That cloud and web-based stuff is mainly to get exposure and lower the threshhold of trying a game out. If you don't have to download it and can immediately start playing, people'll be more likely to give it a try, right? And once they got a taste of it, they'll download, or look for more games like that.

Offline Cloudee1

Re: agigames.com
« Reply #34 on: April 27, 2011, 06:03:22 PM »
Time to get back to work on the tutorials section, check
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Offline gumby

Re: agigames.com
« Reply #35 on: April 28, 2011, 08:33:20 AM »
- The games have no exposure! I'm sure there are plenty of great games in the AGI and SCI lists, but on this website, they have a half-size screenshot and no description. Just a title and a download. I'd like to see games get their own page, with a full sized screenshot (It's only 320x200, no harm done) and a quick review of the game, showing us what the game is all about, i.e a synopsis.

You could also make youtube videos of your favorite parts of the new games, since everyone loves to see games move, and innovation is hard to get across in a screenshot! Game walkthroughs (to show off AGI/SCI's powerful programming!), video tutorials, and networking with other game communities (AGS is a particularily nice one, and another community grow out of it  - DAGE, which focuses on Telltale style games) could increase the amount of people who come here - showing the world that SCI is waking from dormancy into full bloom, rather than dying a slow death. Bring the community's work forth for the new generation. I'd love to see videos of Gourd of the Beans and AGI Combat on Youtube! Making people try games out firsthand is the best way, but letting people see the power of the engine secondhand is still a good way to go! Once I'm done with making my game, I'd love to help with this.
Putting the idea of 'the cloud' (playing games online, in a browser) aside for now due to level-of-effort, I think these two ideas are the next best things that would help the community take off.

I haven't played hardly any of the games here, mostly because of time commitment reasons.  Other things that hold me back (and I think Lance referred to this recently):  Is the game complete?  How does it rate (maybe 1-5 stars)?  Difficulty rating?  I also like the idea of putting together 'video reviews' or walkthroughs of games - get 'em interested in it enough to download & play. 

There is a lot of work here to be sure & I'd be interested in helping where & when I can.

- The documentation is pretty scattered. AGS is what I'd call the benchmark for help files. Nailhead AGI's logic documentation is also pretty good, but SCI's documentation is confusing and spread over several sites, with some links leading absolutely nowhere (the tutorials section on the site has a few, with dead images to boot). It needs some cleaning up and clarifying, especially the script tutorials, which are the most important part. The Sierrahelp wiki strangely renders all text in code blocks really really unreadably tiny, too (on Firefox). It's gotta all be cleaned up, put in one place, and for best effect, bundled with SCI companion in a chm file.

Hey Cloudee, I think Collector rounded up most of the missing images and threw them up on the wiki, you might be able to grab them there.  As to the 'tiny-code' problem on the wiki, yeah Collector is aware of it, but he probably hasn't had time to get back to it (or it dropped off the radar?).
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Offline Cloudee1

Re: agigames.com
« Reply #36 on: April 28, 2011, 06:03:37 PM »
Except for the memory heap images that troflip had, I should have all the images. I just never finished what I had started. The problem is that nothing here seems to be a small job.  ;D

I'll see what I can do about the tutorials, I haven't really ever been happy with them and I'm afraid it means that I will be rewriting a lot of them to make me happy with them, as soon as I finish uploading all the agi games, and then address the tool pages real quick again.  Then the tutorials, I promise, right after I clean up the pnc template game one last time...

I just can't quit working on my game though, arghh
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Offline Raf

Re: agigames.com
« Reply #37 on: April 28, 2011, 06:12:06 PM »
Except for the memory heap images that troflip had, I should have all the images. I just never finished what I had started. The problem is that nothing here seems to be a small job.  ;D

I'll see what I can do about the tutorials, I haven't really ever been happy with them and I'm afraid it means that I will be rewriting a lot of them to make me happy with them, as soon as I finish uploading all the agi games, and then address the tool pages real quick again.  Then the tutorials, I promise, right after I clean up the pnc template game one last time...

I just can't quit working on my game though, arghh
Soooooooooooooo, how's your Spongebob game coming along? ;D Or was that somebody else?

Offline Cloudee1

Re: agigames.com
« Reply #38 on: April 28, 2011, 09:18:03 PM »
No that's me and thank God it's still on the shelf. I did fire it up a couple of weeks ago and what there is looks good, I just remember there being more of it... This moment, I have at least two games ahead of it. Besides everything here, so on the shelf it stays for now.
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Offline robingravel

Re: agigames.com
« Reply #39 on: April 28, 2011, 09:23:28 PM »
The best feature with AGS vs AGI and SCI, AGS supports language selections and accents. I mean
« Last Edit: April 28, 2011, 09:32:05 PM by robingravel »

Offline Collector

Re: agigames.com
« Reply #40 on: April 29, 2011, 12:31:20 AM »
The best feature with AGS vs AGI and SCI, AGS supports language selections and accents. I mean
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Offline robingravel

Re: agigames.com
« Reply #41 on: April 29, 2011, 08:16:10 AM »
The best feature with AGS vs AGI and SCI, AGS supports language selections and accents. I mean

grokkage

  • Guest
Re: agigames.com
« Reply #42 on: April 30, 2011, 07:24:00 PM »
Just a humble suggestion.
I was wondering if you guys would like to set up the AGI community over at reddit.com.
I've been using it pretty extensively for the past few years and it's designed for communities such as ours.
I set up a temporary subreddit here.

Offline Collector

Re: agigames.com
« Reply #43 on: April 30, 2011, 09:05:46 PM »
I'd say to just keep it here until we can get a hold of the database backup. No sense spreading everything further across yet more of the internet. Besides, anything setup would have to have the capability to import the old database, so that probably means SMF, like this board.
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Offline Raf

Re: agigames.com
« Reply #44 on: May 13, 2011, 05:19:07 AM »
Damnit. Some Japanese guy actually bought the domain name during the bidding, for $69! I thought that was a fake bid by Chris' host to put pressure on anybody who might be interested. agigames.org and .net are still free, though, so we could switch to those.


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