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ShackNews and Context-Sensitive Click Interface

posted by Anonymous on - last edited - Viewed by 359 users

I think everything about the new Sam and Max game looks great, but I just read this preview at ShackNews and this disturbed me: "This game opts to filter the player's interactions with the world down to a context-sensitive click interface, rather than giving a list of verbs that the player can execute. Clicking on a person is likely to initiate a conversation, while clicking on an item may cause Sam either to examine it or pick it up."
Half the fun of adventure games is figuring out on your own what you're supposed to be doing. When you are held by your hand and guided through the whole thing, it becomes less an interaction and more just watching something play itself. I think this is probably being done so as not to intimidate those unfamiliar with adventure games, but I say, why not have both options available? Simply have an option that either the cursor automatically changes to whatever it is above, or the player manually cycles through the different cursors (say, with the right click). Those that are more experienced can go to the settings and choose to manually cycle -- and for those that aren't, it will be set-up initially to be automatic.
Now, maybe that wasn't done because of all the things the character has to say in response to things he can't do. But then, why not just record one broad line of dialogue? "I don't want to do that" or something (like Hoagie in Day of the Tentacle.)
This is such a simple thing, but it really would limit the fun of the game, I think, not to have the ability to do this manually.

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  • Lucky the game is coming out in just one week on GameTap, and two weeks later on Telltale's site, so you can try it for yourself and see how you like it. :)

    Hearing it described, it does sort of sound like a "dumbed down" interface, but playing it, it really doesn't feel that way. (At least, not in my opinion, and I've been playing adventure games since the original Zorks!) The trade-off for having lots of "verbs" would be that there would be less in the world to interact with, and that's a very important element of this sort of game. Myself, I'd rather a bunch of funny responses rather than one generic one that keeps repeating over and over when you try different combinations of actions... gets old fast.

    There was a lot of discussion about how many "verbs" a game should have several months back. I'm afraid I can't find the thread right now, but several people weighed in, including Dave Grossman himself. ;) Maybe if you poke around in some of the other threads in this forum you'll find it.

    ps If your concern is that the one-click interface makes the game too easy, I wouldn't worry. There's a lot of figuring out that has to happen in this game, regardless of the interface!

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    Anonymous

    Emily, I think you're gonna be busy when the game gets released with user feedback! Although I won't be able to play the game on it's initial release, I am looking forward to hearing reviews about it, and what users think of it. It's a helluva thing to pull it off right the first time, but if you can, I'll be very very chuffed.

    I also want to see how this 'one game a month' thing pans out. That's quite a tall order. Well, all I can say is "Good luck."

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    Anonymous

    [quote]IHalf the fun of adventure games is figuring out on your own what you're supposed to be doing. When you are held by your hand and guided through the whole thing, it becomes less an interaction and more just watching something play itself. I think this is probably being done so as not to intimidate those unfamiliar with adventure games, but I say, why not have both options available? Simply have an option that either the cursor automatically changes to whatever it is above, or the player manually cycles through the different cursors (say, with the right click). Those that are more experienced can go to the settings and choose to manually cycle -- and for those that aren't, it will be set-up initially to be automatic.[/quote]

    I dunno man - I think the context sensitive mouse curser has been standard for adventure games for a good few (5-10?) years now.

    I guess context sensitive pointers just show the default action for an object/character - The puzzle may involve giving Consumptive Bob a whatchimagizit to open the doorway, but the context sensitive curser for him will always show a speech bubble unless you have the whatchimagizit selected from your inventory

    (Also I tend to find it saves time when pixel hunting - you don’t have to click every object on the screen, you can immediately see the items you can interact with and which you can’t)

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    Anonymous

    Yes, I am definitely not trying to leap to any hasty conclusions here, as I am very, very excited about this game. It was just a concern, but I guess we'll see how big an issue (if at all) it is when I get to try it out.

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    Anonymous

    [quote]Yes, I am definitely not trying to leap to any hasty conclusions here, as I am very, very excited about this game. It was just a concern, but I guess we'll see how big an issue (if at all) it is when I get to try it out.[/quote]

    Hey! – No fair being reasonable! I was looking forward to getting a chance to bully you into accepting my point of view. No what am I going to do with my evenings? Back to scraping the calluses of my mothers back again ïŒ :-s

  • Adventure games haven't used a list of verbs for many, many years. I'm not sure where you've been hiding all this time.

  • They haven't been using a list of verbs, but many do give you an option of a few different things you can do with the cursor (i.e. look, use). Even Bone has more than one thing you can do. So I understand the concern that having only one cursor for every action might be too simple.

    Like I said, though, I really don't think it's something that will bother most people once they're playing.

    As for user feedback... yes, the next few weeks are going to be busy ones. :D With all the forum posts, etc., how will I ever find time to play the beta of episode two?!

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    Anonymous

    well theres two ways this "user feedback" can go.. I'm hoping for glorious adulation for the telltale team myself :) [\:D/]

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    Anonymous

    [quote]
    As for user feedback... yes, the next few weeks are going to be busy ones. :D With all the forum posts, etc., how will I ever find time to play the beta of episode two?![/quote]

    beta? already?

  • Oh, compared to the gamma and delta versions, the beta version is a walk in the park.

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