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No linearity, please...

posted by Anonymous on - last edited - Viewed by 1.2K users

I have noticed that both Bone games are really linear... all events go one after the other... now that's not the spirit of games previously designed and built by our great guys at telltale... i wish for the sam and max games to be like the hit the road one. A game that you can play for months because you don't know that a flask is usefull to fix a malfunctioning escelator... so despite me usually encouraging the story part of the game i wish it to be less story and more tricky puzzles.... and less help... (i don't like the help feature of the bone games...)

Thanks and i'm sure you'll make meny great games!!

Matt from Slovenia (the chicken like country east of italy)

71 Comments - Linear Discussion: Classic Style
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    Anonymous

    I think, like, one game will be pushing people into a volcano with a car, another will be a chase on foot with guns, another will be like bungee jumping from a dude's nose.

    Anyone want to bet on this? Place your bets now...

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    Anonymous

    [quote]I think, like, one game will be pushing people into a volcano with a car, another will be a chase on foot with guns, another will be like bungee jumping from a dude's nose.

    Anyone want to bet on this? Place your bets now...[/quote]

    You are right, and see the problem? Right in front of you? How can one make it non linear this way? You can't choose, if there are multiple simultaneous puzzles, which one to do.

    You can't go and unwrap the one clue if you are stuck with another.

    You can't pick that useless piece of rope if that is actually useless in this episode. As the next does not remember did you pick it up or not.

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    Anonymous

    [quote]I think if the episodes carried on and included locations items from episode 1..it would just get better and better.. but 2 hour self contained episodes.. you can have a good story..you can have some funny stuff for sure..but can you actually have a good "adventure gaming" experience all tied up in 2 hours? [[-o<][/quote]

    That is the point I've been trying to explain ever since I registered to this forum.

    Each episode as its own game: Puzzles become more strict to the episode, nothing can refer to before happened. And puzzles can't unveil itself by time. As it does not make sense to make forced to pick that useless piece of wood, or any other if you don't need it for awhile.

    You can imagine it this way too: You are stranded (referring to monkey island) to island each time next episode becomes, which means all the collected stuff becomes irrelevant OR each episode has it's own static given collectibles in pocket, which have been forced to pick up earlier.

    Instead of one challenging chess game, you are playing twenty little chess games. (Notice that in one chess game the moves you make at the beginning means something, rather than in twenty little games, as each game is it's own)

    All the problems of own-game-episodic presentation could be "fixed" with expanding episodic presentation.

    Here is an diagram that shows exactly how episodic presentation affects the linearity of the adventure game:
    (for those of you who does not have a such a strong image what does it mean)
    telltalegames_small.png
    ("larger" version: http://koti.mbnet.fi/ciantic/telltalegames.png)

  • What you propose (revisiting locations, retaining items etc. from earlier episodes) would mean that everybody must play episode 1 before playing episode 2 before playing episode 3 etc.

    The way Telltale are doing things, the episodes can be played in any order (how's THAT for non linearity?) and do not all need to be played to get into the latest episode, like skipping an episode of your favourite TV series, or watching an episode recorded by a friend out-of-order with the rest of the season.

    Which is contrary to the whole reasoning behind setting the episodes up as games that can be enjoyed (and marketed) as standalones.

    And those of us who play them all will be rewarded by the overall story arc that is occurring co-currently throughout the episodes.

    Additionally if you're desperate to revisit an old location, just fire up an old episode.

    Remember Grim Fandango? 4 distinct time periods / locations. You could in fact have played each of them separately as standalone episodes.

    So just consider Sam & Max episodes a little like Grim Fandango, except there's a wait between leaving one section (episode) and getting to another. Even the Monkey Island games had distinct chapters where new sections would open up and some older locations would become unvailable.

    So this whole episodic thing has in essence been done before on some of the greatest adventure games ever made.

  • I think everyone needs to trust in the fact that we have seasoned game designers hashing out these very issues as we speak. ;)

    No one's really done this before, so it makes sense for you guys to be unsure about how it'll turn out. But there are obviously a lot of preconceived ideas that people have about what an episodic game is, that no amount of explanation from Telltale beforehand is going to dispell. When they come out, the games will speak for themselves.

    Until then, go play Bone! :))

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    Anonymous

    [quote]The way Telltale are doing things, the episodes can be played in any order (how's THAT for non linearity?) and do not all need to be played to get into the latest episode, like skipping an episode of your favourite TV series, or watching an episode recorded by a friend out-of-order with the rest of the season.
    [/quote]

    As far as i know, any order won't do. Only ascending order and skipping means you lose a little bit of the plot (in worst case scenario).

    If you imagine that any order would do, then it would be even more linear. As they don't connect to each other in none ways.

    You can't simply "fix this problem" by any method. It is mathematically impossible, only vivid telling can save the current method. Thats why I can't say if it will be bad or not. It is sure that since each episode is own game the linearity will increase no matter what, how much that will affect the mood is probably the question we should ask. And you can't answer to that until you have played the game.

  • And how is any of this different to Grim Fandango, say, where you progressed from one year to the next, and couldn't backtrack to the previous year's locations?

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    Anonymous

    The Grim Fandango example is a good one... Those could have been 4 years..4 different episodes.. but would each year be 2 hours of gameplay? I'd say it would be a lot longer than that.. and were the years self contained? the story continued on..so the grim fandango designers didnt have to worry about wrapping up a case. If you are telling a story within 2 hours..either the story will not have much to it..or the gameplay will be very short. Now I'm not going to be able to judge this until I've actually played the game.. but until then I'm gonna try and figure out how you can have a adventure game episode lasting only 2 hours.. I mean people complained out from boneville was too short and that was about 3-4 hours.. What could you possible do in a game half of that :-?

    and let me make another point.. I thought there was some very clever puzzles in the great cow race..which I really enjoyed..but they didn't take long to solve because there was really nothing else to get caught up on or stuck with.. a bigger world more things to do gives you a larger range of possibilities..suddenly that clever little puzzle is harder and you have to think more..but I dont think you'll be able to have that big a world in a 2 hour game.. In the old luscasarts games I could easily spend 2 hours just on one puzzle.. The challenge is definitely there for Dave & co on this 1 :D

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    Anonymous

    [quote][quote]I think if the episodes carried on and included locations items from episode 1..it would just get better and better.. but 2 hour self contained episodes.. you can have a good story..you can have some funny stuff for sure..but can you actually have a good "adventure gaming" experience all tied up in 2 hours? [[-o<][/quote]

    That is the point I've been trying to explain ever since I registered to this forum.

    Each episode as its own game: Puzzles become more strict to the episode, nothing can refer to before happened. And puzzles can't unveil itself by time. As it does not make sense to make forced to pick that useless piece of wood, or any other if you don't need it for awhile.

    You can imagine it this way too: You are stranded (referring to monkey island) to island each time next episode becomes, which means all the collected stuff becomes irrelevant OR each episode has it's own static given collectibles in pocket, which have been forced to pick up earlier.

    Instead of one challenging chess game, you are playing twenty little chess games. (Notice that in one chess game the moves you make at the beginning means something, rather than in twenty little games, as each game is it's own)

    All the problems of own-game-episodic presentation could be "fixed" with expanding episodic presentation.

    Here is an diagram that shows exactly how episodic presentation affects the linearity of the adventure game:
    (for those of you who does not have a such a strong image what does it mean)
    telltalegames_small.png
    ("larger" version: http://koti.mbnet.fi/ciantic/telltalegames.png)[/quote]

    yeah... okay.

  • User Avatar Image
    Anonymous

    Ciantic, we're not talking about one SINGLE game broken in pieces, we're talking about many little games with a shared subplot. "The Great Cow Race" DOES feature an Adventure Game Plot System and lasts five hours. It could easily last two hours if it contained just the central part, which is non-linear, BTW.
    It's a different way to conceive the adventure gaming experience: is it worse than the old one? Is it better than the old one? IT IS DIFFERENT. Adventure gaming won't die because of the Sam & Max Season One. We're experiencing the birth of a subgenre. We've already witnessed the puzzlegame-adventure hybrid with Myst, now we're faced with something else. ;)

    P.S.: Does anyone remember Coktel Vision's Gobliins 2 & 3? Each chapter contained two or three locations, YET puzzles weren't linear. Lot of fun, tricky difficulty level too.

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