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1043099 Posts in 42259 Topics- by 33918 Members - Latest Member: NazGhuL

September 17, 2014, 07:34:14 AM
TIGSource ForumsFeedbackDevLogsPassengers - smalltalk on a surreal night train
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Author Topic: Passengers - smalltalk on a surreal night train  (Read 8224 times)
jarnik
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« on: May 04, 2012, 03:00:49 AM »

Passengers is an atmospheric puzzle game / toy.

Got this idea while coming home via a late night tram, seeing a lot of different people, sharing their stories, even playing guitar.

Gameplay:
  • Choose a train line (and a driver) and depart off with your train.
  • During the ride, the game switches between two modes:
  • Passengers talking, each stuck in a separate monologue. Catch their words to form sentences and remember them.
  • A train driver, overwhelmed by various inner issue, stops the train and asks passengers for consolation. Based on what you've heard from them, choose the most appropriate passenger to help.
    With each correct answer, new (and stranger) passengers get on a train. After receiving enough help, reassured driver grabs the lever, giving the train a magnificient boost. It is then dispatched through subspace towards a next station in an entirely different scenery.

Goal:
  • Reach the end of the line

Step by step, I'd like to shift the atmosphere from an ordinary night train ride into a surreal trip where future, past and fiction are one.

I'm aiming for mobile platforms (testing on Android at the moment). What would be the ideal place to play this game? A night train, of course!


Screenies:
                        

Planned scope:
  • 5 train lines to choose from (each with a different set of passengers)
  • 7 stations on each line (each with a different set of sceneries)
  • 140+ passengers
  • more word-catching modes, more challenging

I'll be glad to receive any feedback before moving on  Smiley

EDIT:
Character sheet - feel free to contribute: ( no login required )
https://docs.google.com/spreadsheet/ccc?key=0AviuUEloaK4YdEludURnZGI4X3BXRXd1YTByelVmQ2c
Do not hesitate to add any ideas (even if it's just a character description without any dialogue lines). If I like your idea, I'll make sure to put you up in credits
« Last Edit: October 16, 2013, 03:41:51 AM by jarnik » Logged
Nuprahtor
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« Reply #1 on: May 04, 2012, 04:41:42 AM »

God, this is amazing. I will track the game's developing progress.
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tequibo
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« Reply #2 on: May 04, 2012, 05:02:47 AM »

I liked it very, very much. Very interesting idea, and nice implementation.
Though at some point, at one answer, train just stayed still, guess it's a bug.
I liked that moment where one human being helps another. And that there is many different characters, and new people get on. Liked visual style too. And atmosphere is just great.
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jarnik
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« Reply #3 on: May 08, 2012, 12:33:41 AM »

Thanks for playing, I'm glad you liked it Grin

I'd like to gather more ideas on various characters, so I've created this simple sheet.
Character sheet - feel free to contribute: ( no login required )
https://docs.google.com/spreadsheet/ccc?key=0AviuUEloaK4YdEludURnZGI4X3BXRXd1YTByelVmQ2c

Do not hesitate to add any ideas (even if it's just a character description without any dialogue lines). If I like your idea, I'll make sure to put you up in credits Wink
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knotty spine
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« Reply #4 on: May 08, 2012, 04:34:30 AM »

 Pixel 25

I added some passenger ideas, and that pink square is a heart.

Instead of the one sound you're currently using whenever any passenger speaks, i think you should use garbled voice clips that are different for each passenger. Like this, but really short.
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Animating something like this >> Outraged << would take hours, maybe even days of work.
jarnik
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« Reply #5 on: May 08, 2012, 04:41:59 AM »

I added some passenger ideas, and that pink square is a heart.
Instead of the one sound you're currently using whenever any passenger speaks, i think you should use garbled voice clips that are different for each passenger. Like this, but really short.

Thanks for contribution!
Adding garbled voice-overs might help to differentiate the speaking sequences - good point!
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screwtape
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« Reply #6 on: May 08, 2012, 05:21:03 AM »

I really liked this, it took a little while to really understand what I was supposed to be doing but I think that added to the experience. I didnt play every line, so if it's not already in it would be cool if the passengers helped each other, rather than the driver.
The atmosphere and gameplay were really original, I'd love to see this finished!
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jarnik
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« Reply #7 on: May 10, 2012, 12:52:15 AM »

I really liked this, it took a little while to really understand what I was supposed to be doing but I think that added to the experience. I didnt play every line, so if it's not already in it would be cool if the passengers helped each other, rather than the driver.
Yeah, I've been thinking about that before. Trouble is, it's really hard to write dialogue lines that could be applied to every passenger (on both helping and receiving sides). The solution could be to tag each passenger and dialogue line ( male/female, old/young, etc. ) so that the speaker and requesting person would be chosen to match the line contents.

There are some great contributions in the character sheet by knotty spine and hritter. Thanks!

Right now, I'm looking for some music. I have selected a few composers here on TIGS and now I'll be bugging them till I find someone to help me. Let's hope for some deeply atmospheric music Smiley
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Eigen
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« Reply #8 on: May 10, 2012, 02:56:23 AM »

This game is sweeet. Such an unique experience. I added a couple of dialogs to the shared doc.

Keep up the good work!
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hritter
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« Reply #9 on: May 10, 2012, 07:23:43 PM »

Hi.  Part-time lurker, first time poster here.  I saw your idea and added a few dialogue lines.  I love it.  Hope to see its progress coming soon  Tongue
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eigenbom
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« Reply #10 on: May 10, 2012, 07:32:01 PM »

what a surreal dreamlike game, nice job! .... except catching words is a bit boring ... 
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eigenbom
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« Reply #11 on: May 10, 2012, 11:25:07 PM »

yeh sure, me too. but every element should be crafted well, even the filler ... Wink
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Sir Raptor
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« Reply #12 on: May 11, 2012, 02:12:05 AM »

Two glitches:
- Every time the conductor stopped, the teenage girl kept disappearing and boarding the train again.
- When we reached the Final Destination on the Phantom Line, the train disappeared when we entered the tunnel, but never reappeared.
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tequibo
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« Reply #13 on: May 11, 2012, 02:25:33 AM »

In case you haven't seen this - http://www.rockpapershotgun.com/2012/05/11/hmmm-pass-some-time-with-passengers
Congrats!
« Last Edit: May 11, 2012, 03:02:31 AM by tequibo » Logged

screwtape
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« Reply #14 on: May 11, 2012, 02:34:43 AM »

Perhaps if instead of catching the words, you had to rearrange the words of the sentence into the correct order. Well maybe not every individual word, but groups of 3 or so words. That might encourage the player to focus on the meaning of the words more.
Also, congrats on the indiegames.com post too!
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Noyb
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« Reply #15 on: May 11, 2012, 10:08:19 AM »

This has a really incredible atmosphere. Looking forward to seeing it develop! Smiley
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Useless_Shotgun
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« Reply #16 on: May 11, 2012, 03:11:08 PM »

Great game, I always love the ones that make you think. Music is good, and I love the art style for the people. This  made me want to join to comment and add a few lines. Hope you like them.
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orihaus
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« Reply #17 on: May 13, 2012, 02:55:14 AM »

@Useless_Shotgun Seconded! Added a few lines myself. Gentleman
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jarnik
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« Reply #18 on: May 14, 2012, 04:04:23 AM »

Thanks everyone for your support! It's an amazing morale boost to hear someone likes the outcome of your efforts! The Rock Paper Shotgun and IndieGames.com posts blew me away Kiss

Specifically thanks to eigen, hritter, radiatoryang, Noyb, Useless Shotgun, freakoftheuniverse, Bird59 and orihaus for new character sheet contributions! We've got a lot of interesting characters now.  Grin (would NOT want to meet some of them  Who, Me?)

I'm sorry about the glitches and quirks. As it's just a prototype with almost zero time direct playtesting feedback, I hope it's understandable. Have no fear, the full version will be thoroughly tested and debugged.

As for word catching - there are about 4 modes randomly variating now. I'd like to have a different mode for each stage (with rising difficulty). There are plenty of options aside to simple catching - show a word ripped in halves, then drag halves together before they dissappear / show multiple parts of multiple words, choose correct halves to fit together / all current modes with time attack / letting the word lighten up by dragging it near multiple light sources scattered across the screen ...
The point is to give the player a hard time focusing on the meaning of the words and assigning it to a character while catching the words.
Perhaps if instead of catching the words, you had to rearrange the words of the sentence into the correct order. Well maybe not every individual word, but groups of 3 or so words. That might encourage the player to focus on the meaning of the words more.
Great idea, thanks!

As for passenger variance - each train line will feature a specific subset of passengers (you won't meet them elsewhere). The point is to have as diverse group as possible to make each passenger's lines distinguishable from others within the same group. Also the passengers will appear in pseudo-random order to avoid meeting the same character twice in one game. This largely depends on the final number of passengers in the game, of course.

I'm a bit confused about some responses on the RPS though. It seems that some people think of the Passengers as a self-proclaimed piece of art. I don't have any such intention (and/or skills), I'm just aiming to provide some interesting atmosphere without any specific deeper meaning.
As for not-enough-gameyness, I'm aware of that and quite satisfied with the current status - adding enemies, powerups etc. would not fit the current gameplay. But if you have any ideas on how to make it more gamey (while supporting the current atmosphere), I'm eager to hear them!
What I'm thinking of now is:
  • adding more word-cactching modes
  • have some development element that would carry on across the stations (showing your current progress, possibly a motivation to keep on playing)
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jarnik
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« Reply #19 on: June 06, 2012, 01:59:14 AM »

Yay, managed to drag in a skilled storywriter to help with the concept yesterday evening! Smiley

There is going to be 5 train lines, each with his own story to get revealed throughout the ride. It's gonna be weird and interesting.
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