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1  General / Check this out! / Re: The Burrow release version on: October 05, 2013, 10:20:17 AM
Interesting! I enjoyed it, but I felt there was room for some finesse. I think you're succeeding in what you're trying to do, though.
A big thing that stood out to me was the lady bug at the beginning, I think it really needs an idle animation when the camera zooms up before it walks away. Or if it's intended to feel strange that the still image suddenly gains movement it could use more deliberation.
The whole thing had a very nice feel to it, I especially liked the slow rising then falling through the hole/tube. The distinct differences in each of the three sections works well, I'm glad the controls were part of that.
Not sure how I felt about the face at the end, it felt pretty silly and out of place to me. Also not sure how I felt about the end, part of me likes how nothing tells you it's over, but I just got annoyed trying to figure out what to do and waiting for something to happen, until I gave up and saw that it was actually over when I went to quit.
2  General / Check this out! / Re: Gone home (anyone?) on: September 11, 2013, 04:34:43 AM
I enjoyed it. I thought it did an excellent job of storytelling, but the problem was the story itself kinda fell flat especially at the end. Having grown up in the US in the 90s definitely made me feel more involved. I wasn't quite a teenager yet in the 90s, but there was a lot that felt really familiar to me. They definitely nailed it in that area.
I wish it was just an open house though, without the locked door progression points. It seems like they felt the need to adhere somewhat to traditional storytelling (I read the locked doors as act breaks). I think it would have been more compelling to let the story unfold entirely on its own. The interesting thing about this type of storytelling is how new bits of information can change your understanding of previous things.

Maybe there is a horror story going on with some hints at Poltergeist and the
pre-owner... it feels pretty mundane. Like boring neighbours.

I think one of the best things about the game was the mundane nature of it. But yeah, if you don't feel involved then it really is just boring neighbors. But since I felt involved, I was pretty enthralled for a large amount of it. Its strength lies in the environment itself and the presentation rather than the story.
3  General / Check this out! / Re: We Are in the Woods on: April 12, 2013, 10:05:49 PM
You made the separation of controlled agent and camera work surprisingly well. I actually had a conversation on another forum a while back about how something like this would work, so it's cool to see someone actually do it and make it work.

I interpreted it as being either that the camera agent is hiding or needs help. So the controlled agent is either a savior or an antagonist. Made me doubt myself when I was trying to get to myself.  Smiley

I do feel like there could be some sort of semblance of something happening at the end. The fade to black was a little disappointing. I think maybe a fade to white could work better? Would make more sense with the light shining in your face at the end. Or even just if there was more of a pause before the credits come in.
4  Creation / Notgames design / Re: The Audience's Goodwill in Notgames on: February 26, 2013, 11:13:59 PM
For example, the early silent film Fire! has an odd chronology. It shows the building catch fire from the outside, its occupants flee in a panic, and the fire brigade arrives. Subsequently, it shows the occupants inside, when the fire starts, and fleeing. Finally, it shows the fire brigade hanging around in their station and being alerted to the fire.

Did you mean a different film? I just watched Fire! and it makes perfect chronological sense. Policeman finds a building on fire, runs and tells the fire brigade, they rush to the fire and save the people inside.
It's viewable here:

Even assuming you're mistaking it for a different film, it makes no sense to me that someone could not understand how to chronologically link a narrative with thousands of years narrative art before them. Unless they simply ignored it, as I believe Jeroen was getting at. Sure, Fire! isn't nearly as good of a narrative as, say, The Heart of Darkness, which came out at about the same time, and I understand what you're saying there. But I think the medium is more mature than you give it credit. Going from a purely chronological standpoint (although I believe it's a fallacy to do so as this ignores the broader historical context), more complex (narratively or otherwise) video games have been around for what, about thirty years now? Thirty years after Fire! you have filmmakers such as Buñuel and Cocteau. And sure Memento might not have worked in 1901, but Un Chien Andalou, which I think is a far more advanced film than Memento, would probably have worked just as well as it did in the 30s.
5  Creation / Notgames design / Re: Happy = game? on: February 13, 2013, 08:39:46 PM
It depends on what form of happiness you're going for.
I think the happiness brought on by game structures is a prideful happiness. Games make you happy when you "beat" them, you proved yourself to be better than system and you become proud of yourself. Nothing wrong with that of course, if that's what you're going for. Shadow of the Colossus for example turns this pride on its head, for a compelling effect. And I think straight puzzle games certainly have their worth.

The happiness of chasing around animals in Proteus is a totally different type of happiness. It manages to put you into a child-like frame of mind, where every new thing you discover is a delight. Or sitting on the bench in Bientot l'ete, it's a sublime happiness, but that's where I'm happiest in the game. To me these kinds of happiness are more lasting and "real" than the pride at having beaten a system. It's a poetic happiness rather than an intellectual happiness, and to me it's much more memorable and touching.
6  Creation / Notgames design / Re: The Audience's Goodwill in Notgames on: February 06, 2013, 05:51:32 AM
I guess an important addendum (that seems like kind of a copout) is that, as in all art, you know your audience.

Exactly. But I think it's just as important to remember that you choose your audience. Your audience can be as niche or as wide as you want.

In his book Sculpting in Time, Tarkovsky writes about how many hate letters he would get about his movies, and how it often made him depressed. Then sometimes he'd get letters from people who just really understand his work, people who he successfully found a connection with through his work, and that always made everything worth it. He didn't make his movies for Everyone, he made them for those people. There's a difference between intended and actual audience, but while creating it's only possible to have an intended audience.
7  General / Check this out! / Re: Confusing preview of Bientôt l'été on: November 28, 2012, 09:13:32 PM

I don't think it's too difficult to comprehend how he approached this but then, I am American. I think it's a cultural thing. There is a strong streak of anti-intellectualism in the US. That and an association with Europe and sophistication.

This is the fault of modernist and post-modernist art. 20th century art has fucked us all.

Heh, I was just going to say both of these things (though I don't totally agree with the second).

To most Americans, sipping red wine and smoking cigarettes in a cafe on the beach is almost the epitome fancy, and rather exotic.
When I watched Amelie, I was pretty amazed at first about how they would go to cafes and drink wine and smoke cigarettes. In America, only bars and expensive restaurants serve alcohol, and smoking is forbidden pretty much everywhere public now. We're still very Puritan.

There's a silly perceived division between "fine arts", which is too-intellectual-for-you, and "normal art", i.e. craft. This, at least, was my experience going to art school. In general, the Fine Arts majors would make lazy ironic pieces with convoluted concepts hidden behind them (case in point--a gallery full of large framed QR codes that link to pornographic images), while everyone else focused on being craftsmen rather than artists, because they don't want to be like those pretentious fine artists. In my Game Art classes my peers and teachers would often talk about how much better we were than those elitist Fine Arts bastards. Roll Eyes
8  General / Check this out! / Re: Confusing preview of Bientôt l'été on: November 28, 2012, 08:17:44 AM
Confusing indeed!
I'm not sure if this is fair, but I do look forward to a time when games are in a real conversation with the older forms and do not need to use red wine and chess as a shorthand for sophistication.

I finally played Bientôt l'été yesterday, and it struck me how beautifully simple and unassuming it is. I don't know what this "aggresive symbology" he speaks of is.

"What is the meaning of this Gauloises-smoking, red-wine drinking Belgian art game?"
It's funny how people instantly assume that anything "artsy" has to have a specific hidden meaning.

Even though he doesn't talk about it, it's great that he apparently got something out of the game though.
9  Creation / Notgames design / Re: Using easy interactions during emotional moments on: November 18, 2012, 08:05:48 AM
I strive for something more as well, but even provoking emotion is very difficult for me as a designer.
Maybe I should have said "comparatively easy", or just "not the holy grail that we make it out to be".

Back on the topic of interaction, a teacher once told me about his first time using a computer, and learning how to use a mouse. A friend was facilitating the process, and had him play solitaire. At first he was just focusing entirely on using the mouse, with his friend guiding him. Without even realizing it, he eventually started focusing entirely on the game. Once he stopped asking about how to use the mouse and was instead just talking about the game, his friend told him he had learned how to use a mouse.

Kind of rehashing what's already been said here, but:
I think that story translates to the inner level of interaction within the game space. When you first start playing a game, you focus on learning how to move around and interact with the space, and how the space reacts to you. Eventually, you focus entirely on simply experiencing.
This is not uncommon in games, but the problem is that the supposed Laws of "good game design" revolve entirely around extending that initial learning, turning it into an addictive process which is extremely detrimental to anything outside of itself.

Learning how to use a mouse may be engaging, but that's not the goal.
10  Creation / Notgames design / Re: Using easy interactions during emotional moments on: November 16, 2012, 05:22:26 AM
Of course, if one desires to make art, rather than simply provoke emotions,

Thank you!
It always bothers me when people act like making you cry is the greatest thing the medium can achieve.
Provoking emotion should be easy for games. Let's do something more.
11  Creation / Reference / Silence in the Mist on: November 16, 2012, 05:06:19 AM
(Not sure if this should be here or in "Check this out")

I somehow stumbled across this beautiful game a couple weeks ago. Looks like it's by a Chinese student(?) named Peng Bi Tao. It's very powerful and simple.
and on moddb for an easier download:

The author's description (obviously translated, but it's wonderful):
"This is an adventure game that also has a lot of other element such as maze, act, feeling, puzzle. The music and the enviroment will change by player's action. And the player must find how to play and feel the game all by himeself. There is an end, the only End. If the end appear, game ends. There are many dead area that will make player cannot approach the End. And if you get there, you have no choice but restart. But the you can get back to sometime before at any time. This game now contain a main mission and one hided area."

I'd recommend not looking at too many of the screenshots that he has up. Just know that there's quite a lot beyond the initial forest. I realized what was happening the first time, but it took me a couple times to actually get beyond the forest. Have to be patient. I haven't gotten much further though.
It's a bit frustrating, but I like the idea of having a single unforgiving path. Gives it a neat mystical quality. And it's surprisingly enjoyable to just wander through the trees, listening to the music.

A couple screenshots:

And here's the author's website, with some other games:

"Peng Bi Tao - I'm not a game developer but just learning to write poem."
Love it!
12  Creation / Reference / Re: Kairo on: November 03, 2012, 07:28:23 PM
I thought it was excellent. The first game I've actually finished in a long time.
It has it's flaws. It felt like it could've used some more playtesting. It seemed like it was intended to be pretty modular, but there were a couple puzzle sequences that would've made a lot more sense if I had done them in a certain order. Some puzzles felt pretty contrived, and I got annoyed with a fair amount, but then I don't usually like puzzle games.

Overall I thought it had a great feel to it. I loved the feeling of things being set into motion around you. My favorite parts were There was one puzzle that I actually solved on accident, which at first annoyed me, but I really liked it. Overall, it put me a more interesting spot than just "beat the puzzles and win". It was more about encountering puzzles and setting things into motion. I love that feeling of unknowing. Just moving through the spaces and puzzles, big things seem to be happening, but you have absolutely no idea what.

The visual aesthetic worked really well, I want to see more stuff like this (i.e. unique 3d-based aesthetics rather than retro-nostalgia 2d and realistic 3d). The world felt like it had purpose and history, even though it was completely foreign.

I liked the way it treated the player character. None of that "you wake up in a strange world and don't know how you got there", it's just you, exploring this world. Worked perfectly in this context.

Not sure how I felt about the non-abstracted stuff near the end. The skeleton, then birds and animals. I thought the birds appearing was really cool, but it cast a "real-world" shadow on it that I don't think I liked. It added some mystery, but simultaneously ruined the enigmatic nature of it. I think I would have preferred it to remain completely foreign and abstract.
13  Creation / Reference / Re: IGF 2013 on: November 01, 2012, 08:44:12 AM
I've been keeping an eye on Cradle for a while. It looks like it could be very interesting, but the description there has me worried that they could be focusing on the wrong things. Especially "-Combination of classic quest mechanics with dynamic arcade puzzles" and "-Hidden objects offering bonuses to the player".
14  General / Introductions / Re: Hello! on: October 29, 2012, 08:19:59 AM
Hi! Thanks, and thanks for playing

Decided to start a thread about Katabasis:
15  Creation / Notgames design / Re: New ways of looking at interactivity on: October 29, 2012, 06:38:03 AM
Apparently I had already downloaded that paper a while ago, but never read it! I read it last night though, and it was very interesting. I tend to cynically throw in the feedback loop concept in with the addictive put-another-coin-in-the-arcade type design. That paper definitely made me think about it differently.
And it is indeed what I had in mind: In a sense, it's a different way of looking at the same thing, which results in a creating a wholly different experience.

I really like the conversation idea as well, reminds me of a book I read a while ago, Computers as Theatre by Brenda Laurel. It was written in 1991, I believe she worked on the original Mac OS interface, and it has some interesting ideas about treating interface more as a living being. She equates interactive elements to actors on a stage.

I've been thinking along the vein of interacting simply by being an environment, too. In a sort of Zen way, interacting through not interacting. Something like drawing a more direct (i.e. abstract) line of interaction between the processes within us as we perceive a virtual environments, and the processes occurring within the virtual environment (the game engine). Interaction on an entirely different level. A sort of equivalent of Tarvkosky attempting to make a direct line to the spirit of the viewer of his films.
Not sure where I'm going with this now, and I might not be making sense--I'm starting to type as a think--but I think there is potential there.
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