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.
-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 In fact, he should break into a choking cough in mid-word while complaining about the dust, maybe with a follow up wheeze.
-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
-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)
-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.
-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.
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.