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Old 01-07-2010, 11:11 AM   #1
Hol
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Default Calling all Adventure developers- professionals and indie

Yes, my adventure games research project is still ongoing and I'd like to invite all the game developers on the forum to answer a few questions to help add credability to my project. Some of my question are unabashedly obvious but I still need to ensure that my views are shared by the majority of the adventure developer community.

When you reply could you please also state your name, position and company or game title you have developed. This will be a lot of help when I'm referencing you.

Other users are welcome to answer too, I appreciate all your views ^_^

Thank-you all so much in advance, and without further ado...


Question 1:

What are the key elements in adventure games and why?



(the adventure gamers article on "what are adventure games?" does a good job with this question but I'd like you to expand on it with your own experiences and opinions)
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Old 01-07-2010, 12:52 PM   #2
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I'm relatively new to the genre, but the reason I am getting into it was solely the fact that I'm looking for great, well told stories.

This genre looks to be home for this very thing. The action and shooting games out there use story as a side distraction or a ploy to move the game to the next action sequence. However adventure games use stories as their spine, and this for me is the most important factor in an ineractive experience.

Games like Fahrenheit, Shenmue, and ICO (more subtle and more about atmosphere I guess), all show good examples on consoles, and when I realised these games were so very rare on those platforms, I figured I had to try out the massive pool of adventure games on PC waiting for me. I hope I find similar games that truly take my breath away like the ones mentioned above.

A game that becomes a piece of art through its narrative, art style, creativity, and execution means a hell of a lot more to me than a game that has tons of instantly gratifying action sequences.

PS: (I'd love to read through your project when its complete or whenever you want feedback, as I'm genuinely interested to see what your work produces.)
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Old 01-07-2010, 03:23 PM   #3
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Hi there,
Ok so I know I will probably get bashed for saying this but I believe that acting is a huge key element that needs to be addressed in Adventure games. TellTale do a great job with this as they can really animate the characters facial expression using their 3D engine.
The two obvious elements are Story and Puzzle. I also believe you can't have one without the other. They are like a girls. If a game has a great story (chick is really hot) but the puzzles suck (but her personality sucks) then I get bored quickly. If a game has great puzzles (great personality) but the story sucks (she kinda isn't that much of a looker), I will only play for so long . You need to have both of those and they must be balanced.

Also this isn't a key element but it's important and that is Art Style. It needs to be visually interesting to keep the user immersed in the experience.

Cheers,
Myles Blasonato.
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Old 01-07-2010, 04:46 PM   #4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by mylesb View Post
If a game has great puzzles (great personality) but the story sucks (she kinda isn't that much of a looker), I will only play for so long.
Let me get this straight.

If you're dating a girl that's "not that much of a looker", you decide in advance that you will dump her even if she has great personality?

I'm glad I'm not a girl dating you then
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Old 01-10-2010, 07:18 AM   #5
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Thanks for the replies so far everyone, it's very interesting!
Loved your analogy Myles - made me smile lol but I totally agree with the point you're making.

Any more takers for question 1?
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Old 01-10-2010, 03:27 PM   #6
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@shuriken - I said if a girl has a great personality but she isn't that attractive to me (everyone has their tastes) then it will only be a matter of time until I end it.
Plus it was the first analogy that popped into my head

@Hol - Thanks a lot and I look forward to reading the paper

Cheers,
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Old 01-10-2010, 04:29 PM   #7
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Adventure game is a puzzle-based game where most puzzles are not based on logical deduction, but on making loose associations of: events, observations and common knowledge in hopes of being able to influence the game world through actions that are not 100% obvious without this kind of thought process.

This type of game is an excellent tool to tell stories and establish fictional worlds, especially ones with great amounts of backstory. However, the more elaborate the puzzles at a specific game point are, the more the pacing of the storytelling suffers. Similarly, the more cinematic and instinctive are the presented events, the more limited are the player's choices.

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Old 01-11-2010, 09:57 AM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Idrisguitar View Post

PS: (I'd love to read through your project when its complete or whenever you want feedback, as I'm genuinely interested to see what your work produces.)
Quote:
Originally Posted by mylesb View Post

@Hol - Thanks a lot and I look forward to reading the paper
Thanks for the interest in my work! ^_^

I will try to post up my paper when I'm finished (if I'm not too embarassed lol) but I'll have to ask the uni first - I think my work becomes their property when I submit it, so I'd need their permission.
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Old 01-11-2010, 04:33 PM   #9
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The key to a good adventure game is a compelling narrative and/or game world, blended as seamlessly as possible with cerebral challenges that make logical sense within the context of the game.

The quality of the game often depends on the quality of the writing, characters, acting (in-game & voice), sense of exploration, originality and puzzles.

- Lloyd Parker from Mindtank Studios, amateur wannabe game designer extraordinaire!
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Old 01-13-2010, 10:50 AM   #10
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First, I'm not a professional developer; I'm strictly indie, and I haven't finished my projects. The two furthest along in development are Metropolis Fallen and Stage!, both of which are still in preproduction. My position on both projects is co-writer, concept artist and artistic director. Both projects are for Inquisitive Arts, a strictly indie collective.

That out of the way, I'll try to be brief for a change, because this topic has a way of getting me talking for hours.

Adventure Games are story-based games that involve exploration, problem solving and narrative advancement. There are a number of genre conventions used to make these three elements into gameplay features, but the most common are rich graphical environments, environmental/logic/manipulation mini-games ('puzzles'), and journals and/or dialogue trees. That is not to say that there aren't other ways to achieve these goals; just that these are the most common elements of your average (and many less-than-average) Adventure Games. More innovative AGs succeed in combining these elements in new ways, using environmental game mechanics that integrate the sleuthing and suspense elements of AGs in less abstract ways than AGs have traditionally relied on in the past, along with the logical placement of hints, clues and devices needed to resolve problems and advance the story.

There. Done. Can I have a cookie?
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Old 01-13-2010, 05:52 PM   #11
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As I am no developer (only a developer wannabe ), I don't really have much to offer. But I too am very interested in reading the end result of this, so let that be enough pressure for you to put it up!

As an avid adventure gamer, I would agree that story prevails. A world that doesn't stand the test of time graphically will still be remembered for it's story (i.e. Gabriel Knight 3 - even though I haven't played it yet ). Oh and characters. Characters go hand in hand with story really.

And as for Tales of Monkey Island's expressions - yes they were great, but the hand drawn expressions of MI3 were oh so much better. If only 2D got used a little more these days...
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Old 01-14-2010, 05:19 AM   #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Lee in Limbo View Post

There. Done. Can I have a cookie?
Sorry man...



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Old 01-14-2010, 07:56 AM   #13
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Hol View Post
Question 1:
What are the key elements in adventure games and why?
-
There are three things I want:
1. Story
2. Exploration
3. Inspiration

1. Story
I guess we're all here for that. We don't want to just shoot monsters, we want to find out why they're monsters, what their lives are like, their hopes and dreams etc. At first I thought "that's characterization, not story" but for me, good characterization is defined by good story. I want to care about these people, and what they want. I want to know their history, their ambitions, how they fit into a bigger picture. I want them to still be around if I come back in a few years.

2. Exploration
I want a world that's full of amazing stuff, where every time I turn a corner there's something wonderful or exciting or intriguing or important or at least fun.

3. Inspiration.
I want to feel there's some wider purpose beyond simply a made up problem. (I have enough real problems without making up new ones!) I want to feel some greater connection with the real world, or to see things in a new way, I want to see amazing possibilities.

As a result, I'm not so interested in stereotyped characters (it weakens the story), or games that end (I want them to go on forever!), or games based on everyday events or where you have to steal stuff (I want to be inspired!)

Which means I'm very hard to please. My all time favorite game is Zak McKracken. It's so upbeat, so huge, so positive and packed with amazing real world ideas. Mind expanding stuff! I later learned that it's because it was made by David Fox, and he's that kind of guy.

Anyway, I want games that have huge, powerful stories, that never end, and that are full of amazing ideas that connect with the real world. (And I want them to be fairly easy too!) So I finally decided to stop complaining and make my own.
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Old 01-22-2010, 07:23 AM   #14
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Right, I'm proud to announce question 2! (feel free to answer question 1 as well if you haven't already). Here's a question about your preferences on controls and interface in adventure games:

Question 2:

What are your prefered navigation techniques?

For example, the word/picture menu at the base of the screen (Monkey Island 1 & 2), the pop-up menu ones like in Curse of Monkey Island and A Vampyre Story, the scroll-through-options with right-mouse click (like Gabriel Knight 1, I think?), or any others I have shamefully missed out.

Also please consider the pros and cons of character movement with WASD vs point 'n' click movement.

Comments on pixel-hunting vs games that highlight all interactive objects would be fine if you fancy
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Old 01-22-2010, 07:48 AM   #15
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Q1

I'd say the story is what really matters, at least to me that is - if it's not there, no amount of glitter will work (though that might not necessarily be the case with representatives of the opposite sex).

Then there's a very element of a good game which I would simply call "something special"... What's that? How should I know? MI, GK, Riven and all of the biggies have it.

Q2

If we're talking full 3d, then direct control is the only way.

If we're talking 2.5d, point'n'click is still the best we have.

First-person dynamic - a mixture of direct control and point'n'click
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Old 04-06-2010, 08:17 AM   #16
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Hi everyone, its now at the very exciting/stressful part of the project... just a few more weeks til hand-in woo!

Within the next week I will post up two versions of an environment: one pre-rendered and the other in real-time 3d (using wintermute and UDK) You will then have the chance to take a look and compare for yourselves!

The environment is based on the recent film Moon and I'm sorry, but Gerty won't be there. There's no gameplay as such other than simple exploration. I hope you will have the chance to take a look and answer a few questions. Here's a quick render to wet your appetites:

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Old 07-19-2010, 04:22 AM   #17
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Just wanted to thank everyone who contributed to this project by posting their opinions on this thread and my other threads. I really appreciate it. I got a first class degree, so I'm very happy with the results! ^_^
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Old 07-20-2010, 11:36 PM   #18
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Congratulations!

Incidentally, I really like the render you shared with us. If you have any other little goodies you care to share, I'm sure the girls and boys will be unstinting in their praise.
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Old 09-25-2010, 02:31 AM   #19
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1. Story
2. Exploration
3. Inspiration

and I need to add puzzling atmosphere

What can others add?
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