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Messages - Wesray

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Adventure Related Talk & Chat / Re: AGS workshops
« on: 09 Jul 2009, 00:01 »
Thanks for the encouragement, Snarky! You are right about the demo game - it's very short and quite amateur, but should be good for learning the basics.

The screenshot collage I see as a motivation for more ambitious students. It shows that AGS is much more than a toy, but can be used for professional gamemaking provided that you have the talent, motivation and time. Who knows, it might inspire some talented individual to make their own game one day.

Critics' Lounge / Re: Franko critique, please!
« on: 08 Jul 2009, 23:15 »
Yeah, I think my main problem so far was definitely the non-linearity and not being sure what to do next, since there were so many possibilities. The one time I was stuck, I tried a lot of weird things and was sometimes surprised about the outcome. I didn't know then that there were optional puzzles, so I thought most if not all of the actions were manadatory. But count the optional solutions and many interaction possibilites as another big plus then. :)

About being stuck,
Spoiler: ShowHide

I kept alternating between the darts and the puddle puzzle, not sure which one I could solve first and how. The puddle puzzle proved hardest for me so far, but that's my own fault, since I had not yet internalized the unique verb coin and thus kept using the sharpened bone on Franco instead the nose on the bone.

The one really random main puzzle seemed to be untying the bag, but I saw in the other thread that you changed it already. I think obtaining the bone worked in a similar way (didn't it?), but after solving the bag problem it was a piece of cake.

Adventure Related Talk & Chat / Re: AGS workshops
« on: 08 Jul 2009, 22:46 »

Ascovel, I just gave you feedback on the demo in the other threat! But I see you already resolved some of the issues I noticed; the first puzzle was the most frustrating one for me too.

Critics' Lounge / Re: Franko critique, please!
« on: 07 Jul 2009, 01:15 »
I didn't finish the demo yet, but I thought I'd still give you some first feedback. :)

Things I liked:
- The graphics are nice-looking and unique. I like the hand-painted look.
- I had great fun with the unusual verb coin and the conversation system. Good work on that!
- It's always interesting to play such a grumpy hero character.
- The story looks like it could be good fun, what little I've seen so far.

Things that could use some work:
- Some of the puzzles so far were quite difficult. I had to try everything on everything in a few instances, because the results of interactions can be very unexpected. I had a lot of fun experimenting, but it can get frustrating easily when you get stuck. Don't get me wrong, I think these crazy puzzles fit the game, but more subtle in-game hints would be nice.
- A few of the hotspots were quite hard to find,
Spoiler: ShowHide
e.g. the axe, or the foliage

Minor things I noticed:
- The red speech color for Franco was sometimes hard to read.
- Some walk-behind problems in the first screen when Franco is jumping around.
- Most interactions with the verb coin had some descriptions, but a few were missing.
- Music is good, but doesn't really seem to fit the mood. 

I've played until the point where you
Spoiler: ShowHide
return from the dark world after talking to the moon


Adventure Related Talk & Chat / AGS workshops
« on: 06 Jul 2009, 01:18 »
Hi everyone!

I'm currently busy organizing an AGS workshop which will take place at my university next Thursday. I'm about to finalize the program, but I thought it might be a good idea to get some feedback from the community. Perhaps some of you have done something like this before.  Even if not, you might have good ideas what to include in future workshops. :)

Let me first outline the situation. I teach computer science classes at an Austrian university. During the last few years I have also been involved in programs that aim to spark interest for technical studies in pupils approaching graduation. During these events I've already held two workshops where I taught pupils the basics of the AGS editor and I showed them how to implement a small adventure game step-by-step. This approach was quite successful, e.g. some pupils decided to do a small AGS game as their graduation project at school.

Anyways, due to the success of the last workshop I was asked to hold another one as a part of a bigger event next week. This time the situation will be a bit different though, since this workshop has a new target audience: informatics teachers. The whole event aims to show school teachers alternative aspects of computer science, and in the best case some of them might be motivated to introduce new ideas in their curricula. However those teachers come from various school types from all over Austria and they teach pupils of ages between 10 and 20. Thus it is clear that I have to adapt my strategy for this new audience. Getting too technical or staying too superficial is likely to alienate a part of the participants, so I'll have to find a good middle road.

What is it exactly then, that I'll try to accomplish? I aim to show teachers how AGS can be used in their classes to complement the typical programming languages taught at school and to motivate interested pupils to dig deeper into it on their own. I have only about 2 hours time for that. My current strategy looks as follows:

1. I'll start by telling the teachers about the goals of my workshop. They should know what to expect.
2. Then I'll proceed with a brief introduction on adventure games. This will be very short, as these kinds of games are still very popular around here (the adventure game workshop is also the most popular one of the whole event). I'll also give a short general introduction about AGS and where to find more information about it. The participants will be shown some examples for successful AGS games (only screenshots) to point out their range and diversity.
3. Next the teachers will use the available notebooks for a few minutes to play the short demo game that was developed during the previous workshops. This will give everyone the opportunity to see first hand what we are talking about.  :=
4. After that I will give the teachers a short explanation how to install AGS at their schools and how to use the demo game template (which they will be able to download from our website after the workshop).
5. Then the main part of the workshop begins. Using the demo game template, I will spend about 45 minutes presenting some essential parts of the AGS editor, especially the room menu and the scripts. During this time I will also show how to do some very simple scripting and I will show how programming concepts like variables, decisions, loops, arrays etc. are used and manipulated in AGS.
6. Finally the teachers themselves will implement a small new puzzle to the demo game on their notebooks, using some scripting commands they learned in the previous step. First we will brainstorm together which steps are needed in detail and then they will try to actually script this puzzle on their own.
7. In the end there will be a short discussion and feedback.
Since there is a lot of information in step 5, the participants will receive handouts prior to the workshop. In particular these handouts will also contain an additional step-by-step tutorial how to start when developing a completely new game, because optimally teachers should be able to coach pupils who deem AGS interesting and want to go into more details themselves. Of course I will also provide links to the online tutorials.

Phew, what a huge post! :P So, what do you guys think? Am I on the right track? If you had 90 - 120 minutes to educate a bunch of teachers on how to use AGS in their classes, where would you put the focus? Of course there isn't much time now to change my strategy for the upcoming workshop, but comments and suggestions are always welcome and I will certainly consider them for future events.

However, the problem with THAT is that, once the players get a funny response to trying something lethal, they'll do it again and push their luck.

For me death in adventure games can give the game more urgency and tension. But of course it depends on the type of game. In comical adventures like DOTT or Sam&Max I wouldn't expect or want deaths.

But in more serious affairs, e.g. detective games where you are chasing some murderer, or in some horror games, I often feel the threat of possible death raises the stakes and makes me feel more involved. Games like Gabriel Knight 1 and Black Mirror used deaths very effectively in my opinion.

Other than that, strong characters and a gripping story are very important to me in adventure games. I also love historical background information and well written dialogs. So while I enjoy the odd funny adventure game, it's the more serious ones that are my favourites.

I'm always up for horror games, and this one looks very good. The story sounds interesting so far- reading the summary I want to know more. Of course it's very difficult not to fall back on cliches in these kinds of games, but as long as you keep the story somewhat logical and still suspenseful I'm sure I will like it.

Hope you'll finish it, and soon!

I think it would be a fun thread to see how other people see clouds and then draw an outline. Damn, people saw Michael Jackson in clouds over New York City.

Sure, I would be up for some cloud rorschach-testing. It has potential for comical genius. I agree it should be an own thread though. @IndieBoy: That's awesome! :D

And yeah, I might come up with my own drunken experience in the near future, though it's probably for the best that I don't remember some of them...

Critics' Lounge / Re: Franko critique, please!
« on: 05 Jul 2009, 00:27 »
Just downloaded the demo! I will give you my impressions later.


AGS Games in Production / Re: Heroine's Quest
« on: 02 Jul 2009, 23:20 »
Looks great  - and you can never go wrong with trolls! This goes on my must-play list.

(Did the Eurogamer reviewer really have to hate on Ags three times in the review? Once was more than enough, surely.)

Hating on AGS? Blasphemy!

Although I rarely buy commercial AGS games, I rather enjoyed Ben There, Dan That. So I decided to give the sequel a go. And now that I've finished it... what a great game! Highly recommended!

The puzzles were very clever and had just the right difficulty - many of them reminded me of the LucasArts games of old. The humor was awesome too, much funnier than the first game in my opinion. Moments like Dan's solo mission, the Alien encounter on Anubis or Hitler's kitten trap had me in stitches. ;D

The age warning is fitting though, there were several moments were I couldn't believe that the game creators went there. Then they went a step further. ;) But that makes the game only funner. It's almost like the LucasArts adventure that LucasArts never dared to publish... and I think the game should be given an award for the craziest inventory items.

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