Dagon 1.0.0 (alpha 1012) - The Your-Wishes-Came-True Build

Let’s see… Last time most of you said the “free” panning was too sensitive. It’s been slowed down this time. So the problem that remains is the “smoothness”? Not sure how to proceed. Suppose you set the camera speed to fastest (with F4). Does that help?

There are four components in the camera panning:

  • Maximum speed: how fast the camera will move
  • Acceleration rate: how fast the camera will achieve that speed
  • Smoothing: a factor that impacts the acceleration and response of the camera
  • Inertia: how quickly the camera stops moving

Which one of these you would like to improve?

I’ll try to improve the “fixed” mode as well, but it’s going to be complicated at this point. It’s more difficult to do this time (the camera was controlled differently in Scratches).

Nuxly: yes, the messages are supposed to behave that way, never feeling too “mechanical” if you know what I mean. The comment when looking at the map doesn’t appear if a) you’ve already entered the Infirmary or b) you have read the sign over the door. Details, details :slight_smile:

Imari: just to confirm, the default interface works fine on your system, correct? Smooth, nice frame rate?

Very good then.
And about the fixed mode part, I was referring to the inertia :nod:

But the Fixed mode has NO inertia whatsoever. It behaves completely different than Free and Drag: the camera angle is instantly changed by the mouse movement. Or are you saying that it should have some inertia?

Yes, just a little bit of inertia, sorry for confusing you :stuck_out_tongue:

Ah OK, I understand. I’ll see what I can do :nod:

The cursor and movement in “free” mode work smoothly and in Asylum, I’m getting 48-57 fps. If I try to “run” through several nodes it can drop to 38, but that’s as low as it’s gotten. Very smooth. I get about the same with my game in the newest (a1012 - XP fix) engine.

Also, I’ve been playing with the F keys and I love them! The gamma correction means that I can play Asylum in the afternoon and with this game there’s no way I’m playing it alone at night in the dark. :stuck_out_tongue: The slower camera speed gave me more control, so no more spinning in circles. Snapshot works. Almost the best yet, the toggle and right clicking combo for the journal works flawlessly.

I’m going to download to my 64 bit computer and see how it works on it.

Yay! I’m really glad to hear that everything is performing (mostly) as expected!

Agustin, a report on this build: Sorry, this turned into a REALLY long post.
First I’ll do teaser feedback, then follow with engine feedback.

Teaser:
-First of all, is the release of the teaser going to lock out changes by the user, ie ONLY for players who will expect all adjustments to be within the game? I’ll assume the players won’t be playing with the config file or the console and limit my Teaser comments to that experience only.

-I got no sound then discovered the Win download didn’t include OpenAL32.dll or wrap_oal.dll.
Copied them over from last build, worked fine.

-The protagonist complains about the dust but frankly there really isn’t a visible dust layer on everything, nor dust sparkling in the light-beams. And I think he should be coughing more for the amount of complaining he does :slight_smile: In fact, he should break into a choking cough in mid-word while complaining about the dust, maybe with a follow up wheeze. :slight_smile:

-BTW, I DONT like inertia for control. That just slows things down or causes overshoots. Every industrial control-system out there tries to CANCEL the effects of inertia. Smoothing, acceleration, free-border size, all worthwhile. Inertia? Bad idea in my opinion. At least give the me the option to set it to zero. Inertia is good for simulating the (unfortunate) real-world but it’s rarely something we want to invite on purpose. If I could make my car literally stop on a dime, I would!

-You mention F4 to change camera speed. That should be F3 btw.

-Nice to have the F keys mapped, public needs in-game controls. How will the public learn about them?

-In other games I tend to jump between a roaming control mode and a fixed mode depending on the context. A dedicated toggling hotkey like ‘m’ would be good.

-What happened to the Readme popup? I finished it out until the game quit upon the transition to the lower levels.

-Need a way to kill repetitive voice dialogs, so annoying to sit through a long comment for the nth time…

-In know it’s more convenient to have keys automatically unlock a lock door when attempting to open it. Kind of half and half on this one, part of me wishes I still had to actually try the keys to see which one fits, which is more realistic, if slightly more tedious. Without an inventory system yet, I guess you had no choice :slight_smile:

-The looping water anim in the toilet looks alive. It should be perfectly still, or least only showing the occasional slight ripple in response to building vibrations.

-I like the teddy bear addition and comment!

-Still not happy with the FREE mode, it feels like I have to work the mouse way too much.

-I notice the inertia in FREE mode is minimized or gone. Good!

-Finally, it’s time to put on my Critic’s hat, since the public won’t be interested in massaging anybody’s ego.
Although I think Josh Mandel has a great voice, the dialogue often still needs some work. It suffers from the common problem of reading an isolated line and laying in too much dramatics. Nobody actually talks like that.
Also, in movies, the actors can read the entire screen play, study the character, do the whole method-acting thing to get the voices ‘in character’. I get no feeling of what the character here is yet, except for some of the clues from the content itself that he was here before in some function. But why is he back? Does he hate the place but had to return for some reason? Right now I don’t pick up any kind of back-story at all. WE may not need to know what it is, but this is the very phase in which we start to build up an empathy (good or bad) with the character, one… line… at… a… time.

Some lines that I found dreadfully spoken:
“It’s SO very COLD in here”. Sounds like a Victorian lady speaking. Something like “Damn it’s cold!”, no emphasis on ‘cold’ would make more sense for a guy.
“The malfunctioning light-tubes are HUR-TING my eyes!”. Makes him sound like a wuss! And since it’s only function is to create character, and not even likely to be spoken out loud in reality, it needs to be just right.
“There’s nothing of interest on the cork-board”. Way too much comment, like I’m with somebody who yacks and yacks and has to make a comment on everything. (I’ve known people like that). Now I know there is a fine and difficult line in a game where there is a need to educate the player but also keep the protagonist in character. IMHO a simple “Hmm…” would have sufficed, or maybe “Looks like somebody cleaned this off for some reason…”, as if he is familiar with the board and it’s usually cluttered, and empty means something or is a clue…
Anyhow, nobody gets it right the first time, and they won’t without some honest feedback. This is a commercial effort and the only critique the public will make is with sales, when it’s too late.

I know this is strictly one guy’s esthetic opinion, which is worth one vote out of millions. But I’ve been watching several film-making episodes by Blender-related efforts. Project Mango by Blender org themselves, Ian Hubert’s CG-enhanced Dynamo webisodes. As an ‘unpaid’ film-maker Ian shows real chops, nothing amateur about his style or editing or FX, but it’s all overshadowed by the CRINGE-inducing moments of bad acting. (same with his Project London and the Mango scenes I’ve seen).
Regardless of how good everything else is, the public ultimately will primarily judge the acting, sigh. The old geeky click&slide adventure is considered very niche nowadays and even computer games have to ‘up their game’ wrt the story/character/acting if they want sales to appeal to a broader public. (just for the record I’m a click&slide geek, still stumble across old 640x480 games I have to give a try, and sometimes really enjoy still, if I can even get them to run)

Engine
-I’ve got an idea for a new mouse mode: ‘drift to mouse location’ rather than ‘spin speed based on mouse position’. When I move my mouse outside the inner static zone, the camera will spin to center the view on wherever the mouse was sitting. The cursor would drift with the camera. There would have to be a timer to detect the mouse sitting off center without moving (adjustable of course). And the cursor would drift with the camera to re-center it until both are still. If I move the mouse while it’s trying to center, it would quickly ramp to a stop. I have not idea how hard this would be or whether it would be hurky-jerky mess in reality. :slight_smile:

-Can you break out all those camera/control settings for Lua or config access? (max speed, acceleration, smoothing, inertia). I can see all of these being tweaked in some kind of player preferences menu someday. (maybe re-globbed into ‘styles’ to avoid the geek factor )

-When I pre-config to FREE mode the mouse starts at a position I assume was configured by the scripter to a chosen location? It’s below center of the doors in the teaser, a reasonable location.
However, when I preconfig to FIXED mode, the mouse is left somewhere in the upper left screen, probably the location it was supposed to be in the windowed mode in the config file BEFORE it went full-screen. Need to check that in the resize function?

-Fixed mode IS jumpy, but that seems to be because the mouse-speed is way too high. I barely move the mouse and the camera jumps 5 degrees. Definitely need a mouse-speed adjustment for the player, since everybody likes it differently. The FIXED mode in Pipmak works great and in fact is my preferred mode, so it’s just an implementation problem. BTW, I have a game mouse with on-device buttons to change mouse resolution but they have no effect in the game. You must be reading the mouse position at a very low level.

-Console freezes when I hit any of the arrow keys. Haven’t tested other keys like Pg, Home, etc.

-Good to see Zooms are in place. Are they now officially called Slides? Kind of makes sense if they are general purpose enough for anything.

System:
Win 7-64 I7-2600K OC’d at 4.4Ghz. 16 GB RAM.
Video: Nvidia GTX 560 Ti
Audio: On-board Realtek High Definition audio, all effects and surround mode turned off.

@shadowphile -

The protagonist complains about the dust but frankly there really isn't a visible dust layer on everything, nor dust sparkling in the light-beams. And I think he should be coughing more for the amount of complaining he does In fact, he should break into a choking cough in mid-word while complaining about the dust, maybe with a follow up wheeze.
The word I would have used was "filth," but actually he does start to cough at some point, if you walk around in the cafeteria for a while.
-Nice to have the F keys mapped, public needs in-game controls. How will the public learn about them?
-What happened to the Readme popup? I finished it out until the game quit upon the transition to the lower levels.
In the journal, if you click "reminder" the Readme pops-up. There's an arrow at the bottom to go to a second page now with info on the player controls.
-Need a way to kill repetitive voice dialogs, so annoying to sit through a long comment for the nth time...
Hit ESC. I'm impatient too.... :P

EDIT -
I downloaded Asylum to my second computer and ran it through it’s paces and it works perfectly in default mode.

Specs on this computer -
Intel Core i7 CPU 920 @2.67GHz 2.67GHz
24 GB RAM
64bit Windows 7
NVidia GeForce GTX 260

EDIT TO MY EDIT -
Thinking about shadowphile’s comments re: the voice acting, I went back and listened with a more critical ear, but I have to disagree. He just sounds like an academic to me. I agree, though that the comments are a bit wordy.

Also, I got popped out of the game when I hit ESC just as he finished speaking. I guess that will be remedied by a menu screen/exit button in the actual demo?

Agustin, I’m updating the wiki based on this latest build, gotta love those Slides! They totally expand upon the possibilities of the other 2D graphics but with the power of nodes, cool!
I’m done (I think) upgrading the wiki text, I’ll be emailing the updated pictures shortly.

People, I can’t do everything. Please pick one thing in the Command Reference page with question marks and test it out or fill in knowledge I lack. Especially Spots. Too many commands and parameters to test on my own.

Oh boy, long post to dissect! :o

Imari addressed some. Here’s the rest:

Users will be able to fiddle with Dagon.cfg if they wish, but we’re not going to provide a GUI to configure, if that’s what you mean. Same with the console: disabled by default, but it can be enabled with the .cfg.

-I got no sound then discovered the Win download didn't include OpenAL32.dll or wrap_oal.dll. Copied them over from last build, worked fine.
Missed the OpenAL files this time, nice spotting that!
-The protagonist complains about the dust but frankly there really isn't a visible dust layer on everything, nor dust sparkling in the light-beams. And I think he should be coughing more for the amount of complaining he does :) In fact, he should break into a choking cough in mid-word while complaining about the dust, maybe with a follow up wheeze. :)
I didn't want to overdo the coughs. As for the dust… just wait and see ;)
-BTW, I DONT like inertia for control. That just slows things down or causes overshoots. Every industrial control-system out there tries to CANCEL the effects of inertia. Smoothing, acceleration, free-border size, all worthwhile. Inertia? Bad idea in my opinion. At least give the me the option to set it to zero. Inertia is good for simulating the (unfortunate) real-world but it's rarely something we want to invite on purpose. If I could make my car literally stop on a dime, I would!
Inertia can be set to zero, but it's been very minimised this time. Personally, I believe some inertia is nice. It makes the camera feel… I dunno, more "natural". Everybody is complaining that the Fixed mode is too "rough", and one of the reasons is precisely that it has no inertia.
-What happened to the Readme popup? I finished it out until the game quit upon the transition to the lower levels.
What did you mean about the Readme popup? It's still there, with buttons and a second page!
-In know it's more convenient to have keys automatically unlock a lock door when attempting to open it. Kind of half and half on this one, part of me wishes I still had to actually try the keys to see which one fits, which is more realistic, if slightly more tedious. Without an inventory system yet, I guess you had no choice :)
Yeah, I'm trying to avoid those annoying adventure-y mechanics. If you have ONE key, why I must force you to manually use it? Makes no sense. Most things will be resolved for you in this manner (interface-wise), which does NOT make the game easier. Just a simpler, more intuitive interface.
-Still not happy with the FREE mode, it feels like I have to work the mouse way too much.
Define "work too much". Last time many complained that the "neutral zone" (the central region that determines when the camera starts rotating) was too small. It's bigger now. So: you prefer a more immediate camera movement?
-Finally, it's time to put on my Critic's hat, since the public won't be interested in massaging anybody's ego.
No worries about this and I REALLY appreciate these sort of comments. It's OK to be negative but constructive, and that is exactly what you did here. Yeah, there's a critical balance between realism and game-y. In realistic terms, NOBODY would talk to himself, period. But I agree some comments could be improved. Honestly, I quickly wrote them for the purposes of this teaser. Story-wise, I'm consciously not revealing much. I promise the character and his reactions will make much more sense in the final game. But I must warn you: I DO like wordy. And I like old-fashioned horror (hey, I'm a fan of Lovecraft). Asylum is supposed to have a dense atmosphere, both visually and in terms of script. My main tool is the protagonist who is always with the player, so I have no choice but to use him for exposition. I'm afraid there's so much you can do in a solitary first-person adventure :(

Still. The teaser is a VERY brief look into the final game. Expect cutscenes, books, recordings, and interaction with characters.

-I've got an idea for a new mouse mode: 'drift to mouse location' rather than 'spin speed based on mouse position'. When I move my mouse outside the inner static zone, the camera will spin to center the view on wherever the mouse was sitting. The cursor would drift with the camera. There would have to be a timer to detect the mouse sitting off center without moving (adjustable of course). And the cursor would drift with the camera to re-center it until both are still. If I move the mouse while it's trying to center, it would quickly ramp to a stop. I have not idea how hard this would be or whether it would be hurky-jerky mess in reality. :)
It's doable but wishlisted for now!
-Can you break out all those camera/control settings for Lua or config access? (max speed, acceleration, smoothing, inertia). I can see all of these being tweaked in some kind of player preferences menu someday. (maybe re-globbed into 'styles' to avoid the geek factor )
They ARE separated. It's the "camera" lib, i.e.: camera.speed = 100. Sorry, I still haven't been able to document any of this. Look in DGCamLib.h
-When I pre-config to FREE mode the mouse starts at a position I assume was configured by the scripter to a chosen location? It's below center of the doors in the teaser, a reasonable location. However, when I preconfig to FIXED mode, the mouse is left somewhere in the upper left screen, probably the location it was supposed to be in the windowed mode in the config file BEFORE it went full-screen. Need to check that in the resize function?
Possibly, will check it out.
-Fixed mode IS jumpy, but that seems to be because the mouse-speed is way too high. I barely move the mouse and the camera jumps 5 degrees. Definitely need a mouse-speed adjustment for the player, since everybody likes it differently. The FIXED mode in Pipmak works great and in fact is my preferred mode, so it's just an implementation problem. BTW, I have a game mouse with on-device buttons to change mouse resolution but they have no effect in the game. You must be reading the mouse position at a very low level.
Yes, I am. Working on this, I think I can improve it some more!
-Console freezes when I hit any of the arrow keys. Haven't tested other keys like Pg, Home, etc.
Uh, yeah. Bloody Windows.
-Good to see Zooms are in place. Are they now officially called Slides? Kind of makes sense if they are general purpose enough for anything.
Yup, Slides sound generic enough! I stuck with it :nod:

Eh, no. No menu for the teaser. Impatient people will have to learn to be patient :stuck_out_tongue:

[quote="“shadowphile”"]Agustin, I’m updating the wiki based on this latest build, gotta love those Slides! They totally expand upon the possibilities of the other 2D graphics but with the power of nodes, cool!
I’m done (I think) upgrading the wiki text, I’ll be emailing the updated pictures shortly.

People, I can’t do everything. Please pick one thing in the Command Reference page with question marks and test it out or fill in knowledge I lack. Especially Spots. Too many commands and parameters to test on my own.[/quote]
I’m very happy with the outcome, even if the C++ is a bit patchy now. However, they work just fine. One line to create them, and then the engine automatically adds the “back” spot. Plus, stacking them (as in zooming in several times) works flawlessly.

This, combined with the overlays, should allow you to do pretty much ANYTHING. It’s all very generic and simple.

I still miss having an actual inventory. Having the keys be used automatically makes sense, I guess, but what about when there are several objects to be used? I can also foresee this causing confusion for players when they don’t understand “why” something was solved since they did not “do” anything.

I tend to pride myself on being able to find solutions during gameplay — it’s one of the major pleasures of playing an adventure game — and this feels a bit like having the game do the thinking for me. Just my opinion. I’ll be interested to hear what your testers think of the system.

But the journal IS the inventory. It will list your current items. The step we’re skipping is forcing players to manually use the key in this case. But I understand what you mean. Thing is, there won’t be many keys and already used ones are disabled. There are instances when you must use items and for now you will be able to do that when you click on the corresponding entry on the journal. But that might change, I’m still considering other options.

Right now, one can simply pick up the keys and then click on the door to hear the keys “working”, then click again and go through the door. There is no need to access the jounal/inventory or to click on the “keys” entry in the journal in order to use the keys. When I first played through, I thought the inventory was broken and not showing up… then I saw the entry in the journal and tried clicking on it to “get” the keys. I did play a game a while back that used the inventory items automatically, though… Gray Matter perhaps? Obviously, you must follow your own vision for your game, but I just felt something was missing.

Yes, I just want to stay clear of the usual inventory paradigm. I understand the action of grabbing and using the keys is nice and feels “real” somewhat, but it’s pointless. Plus, there won’t be that many inventory-based puzzles in Asylum.

Still, this is a first approach and I still need to iron out the details :slight_smile:

What about supporting both ways to open the doors?

Yeah, that wouldn’t hurt. I can do that easily. Good idea :nod:

Ah :slight_smile:
Everyone’s happy this way :stuck_out_tongue: