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New Sherlock Holmes game: Crimes & Punishments

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Just saw this. As I understood it’s coming later this year, and there will be multiple cases to solve. I haven’t played Testament of Sherlock Holmes, but I’m glad Frogwares’ Sherlock Holmes saga continues. Sherlock’s model looks a bit weird, though, I thought they were modeling him after Jeremy Brett in previous games.

     

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I’m glad they’re making a new one. However, Testament was originally supposed to be released in late 2010, so I wouldn’t hold my breath for a 2013 release.

     

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Kurufinwe - 24 January 2013 05:57 PM

I’m glad they’re making a new one. However, Testament was originally supposed to be released in late 2010, so I wouldn’t hold my breath for a 2013 release.

Yeah, well I find that completely true. They switched to Unreal? Yeah its not coming out in 2013.

I have to say though. ABOUT TIME THEY USED A PROPER ENGINE. Look at those shots. Now you can assist PC Gamers with Graphic Boners and provide a stable compatible environment for PC gamers and other platforms.

     

Stuart Bradley Newsom - Naughty Shinobi || Our Game: Shadow Over Isolation

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Testament didn’t use a proper engine? It looked pretty damn good. Not that it helped Embarassed

They can use any engine they like as long as they make a good game on the level of The Awakened and/or Nemesis. And get rid of the mini-games.

     
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Oscar - 24 January 2013 10:53 PM

Testament didn’t use a proper engine? It looked pretty damn good. Not that it helped Embarassed

They can use any engine they like as long as they make a good game. And get rid of the mini-games.

You can say that from the perspective of a gamer. From a developer perspective, it makes a difference.

I’m not saying the Testament engine sucked. On the contrary, before I edited my posted I complimented the engine until I found out the new game is making a switch to the Unreal Engine. Obviously, from a developer perspective, I was right. They wanted better technology without having to create it themselves. Have you heard of reinventing the wheel? Thats pretty much what Frogwares try to do for Testament, but it proved to be too costly. Anyways, I can’t argue this with those not in the development field because it would become more gibberish than good.

Last note. Did you know you can make a great game but on a terrible engine with horrible optimization? Yeah, thats the point.  Engines are irrelevant to the quality of gameplay. They do though, make the end results work.

     

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What’s the point of changing things from a “developer’s perspective” if it doesn’t matter to the gamer?

Because that’s what it felt like in Testament. They spent most of their time getting the superficial things right while neglecting the core of the game, the story and puzzles. And I’m not someone who believes engines are irrelevant to the quality of gameplay. I’m just afraid they will make the same mistake again.

     
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Oscar - 24 January 2013 11:08 PM

What’s the point of changing things from a “developer’s perspective” if it doesn’t matter to the gamer?

Because that’s what it felt like in Testament. They spent most of their time getting the superficial things right while neglecting the core of the game, the story and puzzles. And I’m not someone who believes engines are irrelevant to the quality of gameplay. I’m just afraid they will make the same mistake again.

I’m with Oscar on this. The game was awful, the tech was great. As to your comments Monolith, it really has nothing to do with being in the industry or not. Unless a developer is reusing a pre-exisiting engine or a licensed/shareware one (Source, AGS, Unreal, etc) then yes…it is like reinventing the wheel each time. I think everyone here is smart enough to understand that. That’s the way game development is. It’s nothing like the film industry where only a handful of individuals/filmmakers are doing something new every decade or so. While this is a bit of a simplification if you want to make a movie you get a camera and film and go to work; if you want to build a game you often have to build that “camera” and create that “film” before you can start crafting your vision.

Your comment that you can’t argue with those not in the development field is inaccurate. Oscar is completely right in his claim that the engine didn’t matter, the game was crap. By contrast the guys at Frictional are using their own engine and made an incredible game with Amnesia. Or take a look at Asylum’s Dagon engine demo. A small developer doesn’t have to use Unreal 3.0 to make a decent game. What Frogwares lacked with TTOSH was inspiration, they were so busy trying to update the engine and make an edgier Holmes (in my opinion to take advantage of the other edgier revamps of Holmes in other media) that they completely omitted the quality story and gameplay that made previous titles so much better.

That said, I do agree with what you are saying about how this opens up more avenues for them as a developer, though TTOSH was available on 3 different platforms simultaneously. However it was still crap on all 3 because it was a badly designed game with an inane, sloppily told story, and instead of the deductive adventuring of previous titles we were punished with awful, cell-phone-game-quality mini games in place of anything even remotely compelling as gameplay. It wasn’t technical hurdles that created groan-inducing gameplay or brought about plotholes large enough to pilot the Exxon Valdez through. Likewise having a more universal engine will not rectify the sloppiness of their last game. UE3 is nice, but if you go down the list of titles that run on it most of them are mediocre, so the switch to UE isn’t going to magically prevent the next game from being casual game shite on a turd story muffin. And you don’t have to be in the industry to acknowledge that. Though I can dig out my Metal Slug platformer or one of my other game projects and send it to you if that is needed to give my post an element of dev “street cred”.

     
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I was unaware everyone here knows the technical aspects of engine features and game development?

Lupin The Third - 25 January 2013 01:52 AM

While this is a bit of a simplification if you want to make a movie you get a camera and film and go to work; if you want to build a game you often have to build that “camera” and create that “film” before you can start crafting your vision.

You don’t just build a RED camera. I appreciate what you’re getting at but that is not how things work and that is exactly my point. Gamers fail to understand that these decisions go beyond just graphics. They fall into the realm of more than a decade of improvements. You don’t build your own engine and expect it to work. You need experience, you need progression. If you are just as small as Frogwares, you will not be able to support the product the way a proper engine would.

It goes into the realms of optimization, compatibility, support, and features. Building your own engine means you have to go into the development understanding exactly what you want….in the end becoming what the game we got last year. Testament.

Now for some hard proof for ‘gamers’. Look at Testament. Delayed. Look at this new game. Already it looks spectacular. That is the point. I also guarantee the animations look better too.

Maybe some people should read up on the good all trash heap that was Halo 2. Or even Prey.

In the end, Testament was delayed because they chose to take up the task of something the company isn’t skilled in. Frictional Games consists of programmers VERY skilled in that area of expertise.

Engines like Frostbite, Unreal, Cryengine, etc are there to make things easier. Leaving the aspects that get in the way of game development.

Another good example of why not creating an engine is good. You don’t end up falling into the realms of the ID curse. ID software was always about technological advancements. Because of that, the games tend to fall into the realm of ‘TECH DEMOS’ more than actual games.

Why did I say that this sort of argument is irrelevant to gamers? Well how do you feel talking about specifics of adventure games to action gamers? I’ve already argued the use of Real-time engines on this forum some time back and was met with ignorance dislike of said subject matter because Adventure games don’t need them. I saw things from a developer and design standpoint. Not from a gamer. I gave up arguing specifics because it never proved useful here.

Don’t get me wrong though. I’m not saying you guys are dumb. Far from it. Hello, we are Adventure Gamers, we deserve a bit more credit as respectable gamers than most. haha Its just I don’t want to argue on a subject that is just plain semantics in my field. These things cost money, so the understanding of these subjects are just way to critical.

Its bad enough I argued with someone about why Lightmapping is still relevant because of compatibility, but somehow they couldn’t go beyond the fact that the bleeding edge technology doesn’t need Lightmaps anymore. I find it I get way to annoyed really easily because I hate explaining what naturally is common knowledge. Then again, these are reasons why I would be a horrible Customer Support person. haha

 

     

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Wow,

so much agressivity here, so many insulting words, so far from constructive critics, so far from the enlighted adventure gamers…

Do you believe one will listen to such words,correct his mistakes and make a better game when spoken of in this way?

I would prefer a dialog instead.

Lupin, apparently you liked some of our Sherlock Holmes games, can you tell why, and can you tell us why you didn’t like the Testament a little more precisely? Did you really played the game on the 3 platforms ?

What did make you think that amnesia is a great game? the quality of the puzzles? The scenario? the graphics?

What problem do you have with Unreal Engine? Mediocre games? like Gears of Wars, Mass effect or Chivalry medieval Warfare? I’m curious to know what you would consider beautiful in term of 3D graphics today?

You’re making your own games? can we see something please?

 

     
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Great to see they’re making another one! I’m glad they seem to be selling well enough. Playing Testament right now and it looks amazing. I just hope you’ll still be able to play in 1st person. And I did like the old Sherlock model better as well lol.

     
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Fantastic news. A new Sherlock game.

I loved Testement (well apart from the silly dog level) and would love some more of that.

Better graphics would be a bonus, but I never had any issues with the Testement ones.

     

An adventure game is nothing more than a good story set with engaging puzzles that fit seamlessly in with the story and the characters, and looks and sounds beautiful.
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I’m a bit concerned because of the multiple cases in one game idea. Of course Holmes is very suited to this kind of format as the original books mostly contained short stories so it is in no way unlike the works of Arthur Conan Doyle but personally I’d rather just solve one big case rather than eight smaller ones.

But then of course none of this matters to me because my processor couldn’t even run Testament of SH let alone this game. Perhaps someone could explain to me why Frogwares chose to make a game with such high system requirements. Adventure games have always been renowned for their low system requirements and as a result there are actually quite a few like me who don’t have the world’s most up to date computer with the world’s strongest processor inside. I kinda feel Frogwares lost touch with it’s audience but perhaps I’m wrong. It is at least in no way meant as an insult to Wael or the guys at Frogwares who’ve given me four great games starring one of my fvourite detectives. It’s just something I’ve been wondering for a while now.

     

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gray pierce - 25 January 2013 05:57 PM

I’m a bit concerned because of the multiple cases in one game idea. Of course Holmes is very suited to this kind of format as the original books mostly contained short stories so it is in no way unlike the works of Arthur Conan Doyle but personally I’d rather just solve one big case rather than eight smaller ones.

But then of course none of this matters to me because my processor couldn’t even run Testament of SH let alone this game. Perhaps someone could explain to me why Frogwares chose to make a game with such high system requirements. Adventure games have always been renowned for their low system requirements and as a result there are actually quite a few like me who don’t have the world’s most up to date computer with the world’s strongest processor inside. I kinda feel Frogwares lost touch with it’s audience but perhaps I’m wrong. It is at least in no way meant as an insult to Wael or the guys at Frogwares who’ve given me four great games starring one of my fvourite detectives. It’s just something I’ve been wondering for a while now.

 

The system requirements really aren’t that bad. Sure, if you’re the type of person who plays mostly 16 Bit pixel art games and have a computer just suitable for that then you won’t be able to play it but any half decent laptop should be fine. I played it before I got my new laptop, on a 3 year old machine with mediocre capabilities (it struggled to play most recent games, and even ran a bog standard 2D point and click game like Chains of Satinav quite slowly; any 3D games from the last few years were more or less a no no at a playable speed, if they ran at all) and it ran without any problems at all. I did have to put most of the graphics settings down to the bottom level but even then it still looked good; certainly better than any of the previous games in the series and certainly good by Adventure Game standards. It just meant missing out on a few fancy lighting effects or whatever; no big deal.  It was pretty much the only modern 3D game I was able to play without any lag on that laptop. Even a relatively old game like Penumbra I was obliged to turn the graphics settings down a little. In my opinion, Frogwares could have gotten away with listing the minimum requirements a little lower, though I respect that they didn’t, because a lot of companies try it on by advertising lower than you really need so it was nice to actually see a company not do that. You absolutely don’t need a specialaist gaming computer to play this game.


I don’t understand the criticisms people in this thread are giving the game; in fact, it reinforces my view that adventure game players are by and large totally lacking in perspective.

I thought it was the best Holmes game yet, comfortably, and continued Frogwares general trend of improving game on game.

The story was simpler than most previous games in the series and I welcomed that; it was actually nice to be able to keep up with the mystery for a change, given some of the un-deducable stories they’d had previously (Silver Earring for example. It was also nice to have a streamlined storyline free of the some of the unwieldy and superfluous padding subplots of previous games (Nemesis really suffered from this). Let’s not confuse complexity with quality. The reveal of Sherlock’s innocence could have been handled better and did seem to come out of the blue (why on Earth did Watson go into the sewers anyway?) but the build up to it was excellently handled and really added intrigue.

Gameplay-wise, I found it pretty much perfect. There was nice variety with a great mix of inventory puzzles, ‘pop-out’ puzzles, clue finding (and the deduction boards are a great idea) and exploration. It never got samey or tiresome. It even had a little bit of non-linearity in places. The difficulty was just right too; I found the puzzles satisfyingly challenging without ever getting stuck at any point in the game. The interface is great; you rarely miss a click spot (the bane of the genre), documents are all easy to find, inventory quick and intuitive to use; these sorts of thing are little niggles that can become big niggles over time and many games suffer through poor design in this regard but Testament was as clean and easy as can be. And yes, you could skip puzzles if you choose to. Don’t like to skip them? Then don’t. There is no valid criticism to make of the feature.

Finally, and I cannot understand why more people don’t rave about this: you can play this game in 1st Person 3D, 3rd Person 3D or pure point and click! This is an incredible feature that people seem to take for granted. Frogwares don’t have to do that and they should be applauded for going the extra light year that other developers don’t. I’m sure Frogwares would ideally just make a 3D game but they have the point and click option there for ‘traditional’ adventure game players who prefer it. Frogwares are trying to please everybody and in this one aspect actually manage to do so.

In Adventuregamers recent ‘Top 100’ list I felt that Awakened got thrown in almost as a token gesture to acknowledge the series, without their really being a standout classic that really merited a place. It’s a shame that list wasn’t done a few months later because Testament is that game and would have been very worthy of a place in the list.

It wasn’t perfect; I had a few story niggles that I touched upon above, but those niggles didn’t negate how much I enjoyed the storyline generally and gameplay and presentation-wise I think it was as near perfect an example of how to create a modern adventure game in the traditional format as you will see.


Frogwares: please continue what you are doing - making quality, ‘traditional’ adventure games in a modern format. We have more than enough amateurish 16 Bit games with verb-selection interfaces.

     
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Monolith - 25 January 2013 02:17 AM

I was unaware everyone here knows the technical aspects of engine features and game development?
...I hate explaining what naturally is common knowledge. Then again, these are reasons why I would be a horrible Customer Support person. haha

I’m not sure what we’re really arguing about here. I think we all understand the benefits to using a stable, supported, and popular engine. I guess you misunderstood my analogy, I was simply stating that game development tends to work one of two ways…either you license an engine or you do the work yourself and build it from scratch or off your previous work. That’s completely different than say a carpenter. A carpenter has a house to build, he doesn’t however have to go out and craft a hammer and screwdriver, mill the wood, refine metals into screws and nails, etc. But a developer often has to do this. They have to build the game from nothing, unless they are using someone’s “tools”. So I’m not really sure how my comments warranted a multi-paragraph response that didn’t say anything different except that you know what you’re talking about because your a dev and acting like everyone else is too stupid to stand near your glorious presence.

Also I do not believe for a second that the game we got last year was solely the result of Frogwares building a new engine on their own. In fact weren’t all their previous games on their own engines? Either way it has zilch to do with the engine and the work they put into it and everything to do with their recent trend of casual gaming. Between Ripper and TTOSH Frogwares made 4 casual titles:

Sherlock Holmes Hound of the Baskervilles (2010)
Sherlock Holmes and the Mystery of Osbourne House (2011)
Secret Mission: The Forgotten Island (2011)
Dracula: Love Kills (2011)

You don’t think that affected their mindset with TTOSH? Of course it did! That’s why almost every puzzle in the game was a mini-game/casual-fare puzzle. It’s like they thought a whole bunch of Zuma mini-games were a great idea. The engine didn’t cause this, nor did their efforts into designing the engine; this was the result of what I believe any observer can say is a core shift in the company’s design philosophy.

And Oscar is STILL correct. It doesn’t matter what engine they use, the game needs to be more in line with their previous efforts. The engine isn’t going to make or break this game, the quality of everything else will. The first Gabriel Knight, for example, is still the best in the series for a reason, and it has virtually nothing to do with the engine.

Wael, I saw your comments and will be glad to respond, but it’s 2am here and I have too many comments to type in the few remaining minutes of consciousness that I’ve yet remaining. In looking back at my first post I can agree that my comments were harsh and I am sorry if that hurt anyone’s feelings. I do understand that designing a game is a massive undertaking that takes a lot of love and commitment. Also, TTOSH was my most anticipated game of last year, so perhaps it is because of this and my disappointment with it that I was so critical. Though more likely I’d wager it is my burning resentment of Holmes for his efforts to thwart my grandfather’s schemes that drives me to such hostile vistas of emotion. Grin

     
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^ I agree with everything Lupin said about the engine, Monolith’s post and Frogwares’ shift in design philosophy…

     

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Lupin The Third - 27 January 2013 02:21 AM

You don’t think that affected their mindset with TTOSH?

I’ve already said what I think of Frogwares’ Sherlock series when it comes to puzzles difficulty. For me, it was already with Jack the Ripper that the series took the stroll down to the casual territory. I didn’t have problems with mini-games being there - but with them being stripped down of true detective work. There wasn’t really any thinking involved, they were more of a mouse click-fest than puzzles. Even Deduction Board was changed so it can be solved with trial&error;. Jack the Ripper was really a well-disguised interactive movie. Comparing the mini-games layers of The Awakened/Nemesis with Jack the Reaper is like comparing Bridge with the card game of War.


However, I’m not saying Sherlock games should be ALL about puzzles. There’s also the sense of “adventure”, mystery, humour, the atmosphere of 221B… And even though I’d also have something to nag about that and the whole “Holmesian” feel in their games, I still think Frogwares is one of the better companies that emerged in 00s. The amount of research, or for example, art and paintings details in Nemesis is ridiculous. It surpasses even most of the “golden age” games in that regard. That’s why I’m always looking forward to their next game, even though I haven’t played “The Testament”, and even though, I have to say, I’m baffled with the new Sherlock’s look.

     

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