AGDInteractive - Sierra Adventure Game Remakes Forum

The Silver Lining Lives!
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Author:  Blackthorne519 [ Wed Jul 21, 2010 2:53 am ]
Post subject:  Re: The Silver Lining Lives!

You know, it's hard work making a game. We all know that. Some people are gonna like what you do, and some people are going to hate it.

Sometimes, you just have to go with what you feel. I suppose that if that's how they feel, that's how the game'll be. In the end, if you don't like it - don't play it, I suppose. I've been trying to come to grips with that myself, and I realized that if I don't like what comes next, I probably won't play any further. And that's okay, cause I'm sure some others will.


Author:  adeyke [ Wed Jul 21, 2010 5:26 am ]
Post subject:  Re: The Silver Lining Lives!

Just to add some numbers to my previous point:

In QfG2VGA, each character is up to 7 pixels tall. It has a vertical resolution of 200 pixels, so each character takes 3.5% of the vertical screen real-estate. In TSL, each character is up to 11 pixels tall. You can set your own resolution. In my case, my monitor has a native resolution of 1680x1050, so I have a vertical resolution of 1050 pixels. That means each character takes up only about 1% of the vertical screen resolution. So the QfG2VGA characters are about 3.5 times as big.

It might not be so bad for people who have a lower resolution (or a bigger monitor), but for me, this really detracted from my appreciation of the game.

(MusicallyInspired, how do you get voice+text in KQ6?)

Author:  pbpb33 [ Wed Jul 21, 2010 9:14 am ]
Post subject:  Re: The Silver Lining Lives!

You all have made some really great points.

I'm coming to the conclusion that, in most cases, narration should be scrapped. Games (like LSL7) where the narrator is almost like a separate character with its own personality, providing a lot of the humor (and even interacting with the main character from time to time) may be a type of exception where narration can be used successfully. A lot of the slack (what you lose from narration being removed) could be picked up by the main character's own voice, similar to the LucasArts approach, but you could go a step beyond that. This would, of course, require the designer to create a more dynamic character with an interesting point of view, but wouldn't that be a good thing? Also, having the job of narration picked up by the main character would let the player assume the role of the character a bit more, because the observations the character would make would be only what is remarkable to the character at the time. (Someone on the PO forum had made this and similar observations, and I think they make a lot of sense.) Playing Sierra-style games at times feels like pushing a lifeless puppet around the screen; as the narrator might be describing the architectural history of some house on which the player clicked the "eye" icon (maybe the player was wondering about nothing more than who lives there), the main character just stands around like a dolt. Many times in these games the character will go for a long time without encountering another character to speak with, and when the player hasn't heard the point of view/voice of the character for a long time, it's hard to think of the character as alive. No wonder Sierra game deaths are often treated so casually... the main characters often seemed dead to begin with! If the main character were picking up the job of narrator in a limited sense (and commenting on things from the perspective of how the character views his/her own virtual world), then the character would seem more alive (and less like the title character from "Weekend at Bernie's") and the gaming experience would benefit, in my opinion. In essence, long story short, I would advocate a LucasArts-style design, but one which allows for greater analyzing and exploring of the virtual enviroment than what we typically got in LucasArts games.

If a separate narration is a MUST, then I think the "voice" of the narrator should be limited to what the character would find remarkable or important or noticeable about a particular scene or object at that time. No Stephen King-style narration (i.e., providing the complete history of every new entity introduced) for adventure games, please. I don't think it works in games where the player is controlling the action and assuming the role of the character. It diminishes the character's presence and importance and hurts the immediacy of the gaming experience in the sense that it creates detachment. Also, if an unimportant object wouldn't seem particularly noteworthy to the character at that moment, then don't go on and on about it in the narration. I guess it all comes down to the goals of the designers. Do they, first and foremost, want the player to feel part of the game's story and make the virtual world seem more real... or is the goal more to position the player as an onlooker who knows more than the main character he/she is controlling and who is advancing a story through puzzle solving? Using a movie analogy, is it better if the player feels more like a character living the scenes, or more like a director/audience member watching from a distance?

Most of all, I hope game designers will not feel a need to cling to what previous games had done in the past. As a player, I am most interested in the best gaming experience possible, not necessarily finding a game that most closely approximates a game design that originated at a time when there were technology limitations that might be less of an issue today. YES, I know there are still all kinds of time and technology limitations today... particularly among "fan" game development teams. That's fine. I only mention this here because I feel like, with TSL, the style of narration they chose seemed more the result of thinking, "this is a Sierra-inspired game... so we need a narrator... and lots of adventure games have sarcastic narrators, so let's make ours that way too" rather than what would be the best for their particular product. But I can't read minds, of course, and I may be totally wrong.

Author:  MusicallyInspired [ Wed Jul 21, 2010 1:46 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: The Silver Lining Lives!

adeyke wrote:
(MusicallyInspired, how do you get voice+text in KQ6?)

Perhaps my memory is faulty and you can't. I know you couldn't with SQ4 either until NewRisingSun made that CD version patch.

Author:  Oz [ Fri Jul 23, 2010 8:34 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: The Silver Lining Lives!

I was bothered by a couple things.

The fingers of the characters.
The long winded descriptions by the narrator.
Graham's walking animation, perhaps others I haven't noticed.
Alot of the voice acting.

Alot of that stuff I began to ignore as time passed.
But the voice acting really bugs me, as I occaisionally do a little amateur voice stuff myself.

The dogs are no big deal, small part no biggie, Captain Saladin is ok enough to be dealt with.
But Oberon, and the druid? UGH wow it's like they took the hippie teacher from Beavis and Butthead and put him in those roles, very annoying.
I realize they couldn't get a guy like Tony Jay, but certainly they could've picked someone more appropriately suited to the characters, with a more seasoned voice.

Oh well I'll play it and love it most likely either way, but it sure is grating.

Author:  daventry [ Mon Jul 26, 2010 4:41 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: The Silver Lining Lives!

I cant get into the TSL Forum Board, something about Server is busy.

Author:  Quest For Glory Fan [ Wed Jul 28, 2010 4:37 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: The Silver Lining Lives!

Oz wrote:
But Oberon, and the druid? UGH wow it's like they took the hippie teacher from Beavis and Butthead and put him in those roles, very annoying.
I realize they couldn't get a guy like Tony Jay, but certainly they could've picked someone more appropriately suited to the characters, with a more seasoned voice.

It's made even harder due to the fact that he's dead.

Author:  crayauchtin [ Mon Aug 09, 2010 10:33 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: The Silver Lining Lives!

Quest For Glory Fan wrote:
It's made even harder due to the fact that he's dead.

Pffft, if they can't perform a simple seance to get the very best voice acting in their game, then they're too lazy for me to care about their products! :P

(I'm kidding! For the most part I loved TSL so far and I'm very excited for the second chapter.)

Author:  pbpb33 [ Fri Aug 13, 2010 2:33 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: The Silver Lining Lives!

Blackthorne519 wrote:
You know, it's hard work making a game. We all know that. Some people are gonna like what you do, and some people are going to hate it.

Yeah, that's true. I actually just watched their "Making of" video, and for a minute I felt a little guilty about writing lots of criticisms on their forums (I started a thread there calling TSL's narrator the new Cedric, with regard to her ability to get under the player's skin, explaining ways I thought the narration could be improved). The main guy behind the game seems really nice in the "Making of" video. I started wondering, "awww, was I too harsh?" But then I figured that giving honest criticism can only potentially help them in the future.

Author:  MusicallyInspired [ Fri Aug 13, 2010 3:09 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: The Silver Lining Lives!

Don't ever be ashamed of giving constructive criticism.

Author:  Anonymous Game Creator 2 [ Fri Aug 13, 2010 6:45 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: The Silver Lining Lives!

It's true. You will be bombarded with criticism (both constructive and destructive) when releasing anything to the public. As a game developer, you need to anticipate this as part of the job. There's really nothing you can do to avoid it, and your only options are either to drop out, or develop a thicker skin and learn to use feedback to your advantage.

Our first AGDI games were widely praised and received minimal criticism. This placed us into a comfort zone. But believe me, receiving only a small amount of criticism from an early stage doesn't do you any favours in the long run, because it lulls you into believing that this is the norm. It doesn't adequately prepare you for the realities you will face. In our case, it meant we were not particularly well-prepared to deal with the criticisms that came our way with our first commercial game. The sheer amount of negativity can verge on being overwhelming if you're not accustomed to it. For the uninitiated, it can be difficult at first, knowing which peoples' feedback to listen to, as you obviously want to accommodate as many players as possible. Over time, though, I think you develop an ability for aggregating feedback and using that collective data to make better design decisions in the future.

Criticism is a necessary process for improvement (and not just in creative endeavours, which is why I'm very opposed to attempts to criminalize free-speech that involves criticizing religious/cultural/racial/sensitive issues). Without constructive criticism, you remain mired in mediocrity, you don't learn from your mistakes, and you'll never aspire to greater achievements.

If a player is willing to take the time to write a lengthy review of how they think you could improve certain aspects of your game, then they obviously have a sincere interest in what you're doing and would like to see your project succeed. Otherwise, they could have just deleted the game without bothering to comment on it at all. You can choose to see such comments as a negative, and seek the consolations offered by fanboys who will reassure you that you made all the right choices. Or you can take that feedback on board and use it to make a better product, which will ultimately result in fewer complaints next time around, as well as a higher quality game. This benefits everyone.

I will say that the criticisms leveled at TSL were harsher than I thought they would be, though. People are generally willing to cut developers some slack when a game has been developed for free. But I agree that the high-profile nature of their PR campaign kinda set this title up for lofty expectations. In my experience, it's usually better to pleasantly surprise fans than to set yourself up for a potentially large fall if expectations could possibly fall short. When you've constantly reassured the public that "the game will be awesome" for years on end, awesomeness is exactly what you've conditioned them to expect, so you'll need to be sure you can deliver. This should be a major consideration for a game developed on a non-budget that's aiming to compete graphically with modern 3D titles - a technology that's constantly evolving. In my opinion, 3D doesn't age well and the type of models that looked "cutting edge" 10 years ago, don't look so crash-hot today. People are naturally going to compare older 3D graphics in a fangame with modern 3D trends; it would be silly to think otherwise. 2D, on the other hand, is timeless and artistic, which is why I think it's better suited to nostalgic games on a limited budget.

Anyhow, I think the critiques TSL has been receiving will help steer the team in the right direction, should they choose to listen and incorporate them. I quite enjoyed the first episode and I'll play the rest of the episodes too. I'm interested to see where they take things!

Author:  Allronix [ Fri Aug 13, 2010 8:02 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: The Silver Lining Lives!

I'm in agreement with AGD 2, but I'm holding off my judgement until I see the finished work. I've seen mods and fan works that start off a little creaky, then pull out the awesome.

They have done a lot of work - good work - and it shows. Their voice acting is professional-grade. It takes a lot of work to fill Josh Mandel's adventurer's cap, but boy they did it! I'm very picky about voice acting, having heard a lot of bad VOs. The art has the right style, their sense of the mythology and tone is solid, and they really have some nice groundwork in their favor.

However, the story is a little thin, the whole level is pretty much a tutorial, there's a lot of "empty space" (places where you don't find items or advance the plot), major lack of puzzles or interaction, and too high a cutscene-to-player-action ratio.

The KQ2 is still the gold standard of Fan Remakes, and a gold standard of fan work period. You made a lot of additions, but they fit so well and turned a very frustrating game into something that made a wonderful amount of sense and tied the whole thing together, keeping the style, tone, and emphasis on problem solving that the best entries of Sierra had.

Translation: Even though The Father, Caldaur, the Sharkee quest, etc aren't canon...they're well written to the point I feel they might as well be.

The Silver Lining could be a real jaw-dropper if it tightens up and gets more interactive. I'll wait and see on it, but you all are the current champions.

Author:  Lambonius [ Fri Aug 13, 2010 9:16 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: The Silver Lining Lives!

The main problem with the way POS has handled receiving criticism, is that they've basically said up front--"here are the things you're allowed to criticize, here are the things we might take to heart, and here are the things you're just going to have to suck it up and deal with, because we have no intention of improving on them, regardless of how flawed many think they are." That's just a poor attitude, regardless of how realistic making certain revisions might be (the writing and narrations for example.)

Speaking of the writing, the central reason that it ended up so flawed (besides the fact that it was done by amateur fans as opposed to professional writers) is because the main writers were also the project directors and editors, and so regardless of any criticism that might have happened at any stage of production, it was ultimately up to them whether or not to take it to heart and make the changes. Frankly, it's impossible to look objectively at your own work, and so having the lead director also be the lead writer is probably the worst possible decision from an editing standpoint. You're automatically going to fill in plot holes and correct language inconsistencies because you're the one that wrote them, and they make sense in your head, regardless of how well they work on paper or in speech. The fact that the writers were also the editors just boggles my mind. Directing and writing at the same time is one thing, but you absolutely need that objective third party for editing--to be able to take a look at it without bias and tell you when changes need to be made--which is something that it seems pretty clear they didn't have, which is sad, given the high quality of most of the other aspects of the game.

I also disagree that the voice acting sounds totally professional--while for the most part it is pretty well done, there are definitely some inconsistencies. Anyway. Just saying. :)

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