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1027825 Posts in 41243 Topics- by 32867 Members - Latest Member: Chianese

July 29, 2014, 08:48:18 AM
TIGSource ForumsFeedbackDevLogsFinishedPapers, Please [Available 8/8]
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Roshirai
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« Reply #285 on: March 14, 2013, 09:16:57 PM »

Good fun, though my poor family is doomed. Smiley

Only thing I noticed that no one else seems to have posted: after taking my third penalty, the printout claimed I had been docked 10 credits, but I was only docked 5 credits in the end-of-day summary.

I actually managed to get three mistakes on two separate days! I blame this on the fact that it seemed like I was being paid by the applicant, so I was busting my ass to try to deal with as many people out of the lineup as I could. Smiley
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johnki
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« Reply #286 on: March 14, 2013, 09:26:43 PM »

I now realize this is kinda weird since your two options are to arrest him or let him through. Seems that if arresting is ok, you should be able to just deny him without penalty. Not quite sure how to resolve that.
Maybe make it so you can highlight his name on the note and his passport to get a positive ID and THEN allow the player to choose whether to deny him or detain him?
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MegaScience
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« Reply #287 on: March 15, 2013, 01:11:39 AM »

Well that wouldn't make a difference. His papers would still be in order according to the bureaucracy, so as far as they know he'd be cleared for entry. You'd still only have the option of accepting him or flagging him to be detained. Unless you add something about you informing them, but then they'd decide whether to send him away or take him in for credit of stopping his crimes.
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keon
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« Reply #288 on: March 15, 2013, 08:29:29 PM »

I'd just like to say that your games are both amazing and inspirational, dukope. I played through The Republia Times and got a few laughs and some quick thinking done, was amazed at Mightier, and am going to buy Helsing's Fire for sure.

I experienced a game-breaking bug in my playthrough of Papers, Please, though. On Day 3, there's a guy who's all like, "OK, let's do this! Arstotzka is best country! I can't wait!" etc. He doesn't give me any papers, I can't send him away or detain him (or at least I couldn't figure out how), and the crowd doesn't leave until he shows up. Every time he came up he was a short bald man with a white mustache in a red coat. I tried reloading the game a few times, and he didn't go away. Is this the mandatory stopping point or should I either a)start a new game or b)download the game again?

Also, I want to offer my services as a linguist-y person and design some languages for you. Not just English ciphers la Skyrim's Dragon Tongue, but an actual grammar and everything. If you'd like, I can provide some text for propaganda posters, dialogue and such in the Arstotzkan and Kolechian languages, maybe more. Perhaps the inspector only speaks Arstotzkan and certain immigrants can insult/compliment him and the like in their native tongue! Nothing special, but in my opinion these kinds of details would really seal the deal on the game's polish.
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MegaScience
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« Reply #289 on: March 15, 2013, 08:39:13 PM »

I experienced a game-breaking bug in my playthrough of Papers, Please, though. On Day 3, there's a guy who's all like, "OK, let's do this! Arstotzka is best country! I can't wait!" etc. He doesn't give me any papers, I can't send him away or detain him (or at least I couldn't figure out how), and the crowd doesn't leave until he shows up. Every time he came up he was a short bald man with a white mustache in a red coat. I tried reloading the game a few times, and he didn't go away. Is this the mandatory stopping point or should I either a)start a new game or b)download the game again?

keon, when they happens, you go to the Rulebook, go into Basic Rules, then compare the rule about requiring a passport to the empty table on the left. It will give a discrepancy error and allow you to deny him on the basis of missing passport.

I had the same problem back in Alpha 0.1.1. I remember in Beta 0.5.5 he added an instruction about it to the information you get at the start of each day. Make sure to click through all the pages of the daily document for any special instructions.
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keon
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« Reply #290 on: March 15, 2013, 08:43:45 PM »

Rulebook
Basic Rules
requiring a passport
discrepancy error
deny him
missing passport
Got it, thanks!
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dukope
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« Reply #291 on: March 16, 2013, 04:51:16 AM »

Only thing I noticed that no one else seems to have posted: after taking my third penalty, the printout claimed I had been docked 10 credits, but I was only docked 5 credits in the end-of-day summary.

Nice catch. You're the first person to notice, including me. Gotta fix that.

I'd just like to say that your games are both amazing and inspirational, dukope. I played through The Republia Times and got a few laughs and some quick thinking done, was amazed at Mightier, and am going to buy Helsing's Fire for sure.

Wow, thank you for the kind words! Smiley

Quote
Also, I want to offer my services as a linguist-y person and design some languages for you.

I'll keep this in mind but I don't foresee the need for anything quite like that in Papers Please. I appreciate the offer though.
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dukope
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« Reply #292 on: March 16, 2013, 06:27:32 AM »

Upscaling

For a while now, I've been thinking about how to take this pixel-graphic game and upscale it to a modern or even retina res. Although I personally like old-school pixel graphics, I don't think the appeal holds for the general population. Recently I started playing around with some options.


Hello Neighbor

I started with the game's native res of 570x320, then scaled it up x2 using nearest neighbor scaling:



Looks good. As designed. Pixelly.


Vectorize

My original plan was to manually (using Illustrator's LiveTrace) vectorize all the game's graphics, save them as SVG, then rasterize them to the appropriate resolution on load. The faces in Helsing's Fire got this treatment and it looked great. For Papers Please, This is a much bigger task than it sounds like initially, mainly due to the upgrade from pixel fonts to proper TTFs. That requires all new font selections and basically blows the page layouts I've done so far. Working from the screenshot, I vectorized everything to get this:



Hmm.. Not as f*ckin rad as I expected. The docs are much harder to read now and it feels like an inconsistent level of detail. Some of that could probably be fixed with fatter typefaces but I was tired of looking at fonts at this point. I also really miss that "ARSTOTZKA" font on the entry permit. Couldn't find anything like it in TTF.


There's Special Stuff For That

Ok, next try: Fancy pixel rescaling. In these modern times, there are a whole bucketload of fancy pixel rescaling techniques used in the emulator scene: EPX, SuperEagle, Super2xSa, etc. I researched a few of these before stumbling on the daddy of them all, hqx. Searching for resources on that led me to an impressive pixel-to-vector algorithm that regrettably doesn't come with source code. It's not a total loss though, as they've set up a great comparison page where you can compare the results of many different algorithms easily. Here you can see hqx does really quite well.

Based on that promise, I grabbed the hqx source and compiled it for OSX with some help from this post on the cocos2d forums. Some scaling techniques can handle dithered areas well, but hqx apparently isn't one of them. So as a first step, I converted all the dithered areas in the original image to solid blocks, then ran hqx:



Not bad. This has a much more consistent level of detail. The text gets a _little_ weird, but I could fix that manually. It even maintains the pixel style without actually being pixelly, which I like.


Whither Dither

Going back to compare hqx to nearest-neighbor, however, I'm still sorta drawn to the rough original. Especially when looking at the non-dithered version:



Still chunky, but doesn't have the obvious low-res dithering.

No Conclusion

And that's where I am right now. Haven't been able to decide for sure but I'm leaning towards hqx, with hand-tweaking and assets pre-baked at 2x, 3x, and 4x.
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MegaScience
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« Reply #293 on: March 16, 2013, 06:51:50 AM »

On subject: I kind of like how it is now, but if anything, I'd agree on hqx.

For the game: Would a settings area be added? I'd like direct control over fullscreen instead of clicking a open in browser button, as well as controlling the volume. The music is good, but relatively loud. I assume the difficulty setting and nudity toggle would be in a setting area anyway.
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Core Xii
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« Reply #294 on: March 16, 2013, 12:38:03 PM »

Bug (?): You can toggle "rent" in the day end screen even without the checkbox. Just click on the amount. (it's a bit finicky about clicking, try hitting the red pixels exact)

The name submission doesn't seem to work. I can't edit "YourName, Here" or sex.
« Last Edit: March 16, 2013, 01:33:09 PM by Core Xii » Logged
dukope
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« Reply #295 on: March 17, 2013, 07:31:46 AM »

For the game: Would a settings area be added? I'd like direct control over fullscreen instead of clicking a open in browser button, as well as controlling the volume. The music is good, but relatively loud. I assume the difficulty setting and nudity toggle would be in a setting area anyway.

Yeah I'll get a settings page in there. At the moment, you can toggle fullscreen with ALT+ENTER (windows) or OPTION+RETURN (osx).

Bug (?): You can toggle "rent" in the day end screen even without the checkbox. Just click on the amount. (it's a bit finicky about clicking, try hitting the red pixels exact) The name submission doesn't seem to work. I can't edit "YourName, Here" or sex.

Hah, that would explain why someone was mentioning the "optional" rent. I intended to make it mandatory. Just found the bug and fixed it, thanks. To submit your name, you need to enter your email address and click the activation link that gets sent to you. You can't edit that text directly. Maybe I'll bake the text into the image to avoid confusion.

Passports

A while back I mentioned (and it was suggested) that the passports from different countries look too similar. As part of the general filling-out of assets in beta, I've added unique details to each passport style:



They're all still pretty basic designs but hopefully it's now easier to differentiate the nationalities at a glance. Watch out for Kolechia's spears. Those things are sharp.
« Last Edit: March 17, 2013, 07:37:17 AM by dukope » Logged

Panurge
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« Reply #296 on: March 17, 2013, 08:05:04 AM »

Fantastic. Everything I'd hoped for. The key moment for me came on the second day when I found myself scrutinising a man's documents more carefully than usual just because he had brusquely told me that he was in a hurry. You can just wait, you bastard, I thought. Now that's immersion!

Similarly, I detained a man who I would have preferred to let go (I believed his claim of being innocent - you'll know who I'm talking about here but I'm being vague to avoid spoilers) purely because I thought that I might receive some kind of reward for catching him and I desperately needed the money for my family... I don't remember the last time I made a choice as considered as that in a game.

I love the story elements, the flashes of dark humour and the genuine satisfaction of becoming more efficient at processing documents (as I'm sure most other players did, I had my own little routine figured out). I truly cannot wait for the final build.

Okay, I'm going to to shrink down now for some more detailed feedback which will likely contain spoilers:

If I remember correctly, the girl who asked for help actually gave me a brothel card on her way in. Given her story, she seemed unusually keen to advertise!

I turned the brothel owner away without detaining him, my logic being that I would help the girls by preventing him from entering the country, whereas if I detained him he would only be released (or I would get into trouble) because I had no real reason for his arrest. Perhaps this course could also be seen as helpful?

My family died on about day 4 or 5, even though I'd received no financial penalties, which seemed a little harsh (and the game loses a good deal of its dramatic tension once they're all beyond help). Did I miss something I should have been doing (I think I fed and heated them as best as I could)?

A smuggler gave me a bribe for letting him through (which I actually did by accident). He told me it was 'as promised' but I don't think he had mentioned anything previously. I still pocketed it, of course!

The citations troubled me a little because they seemed so omniscient. For example, when I let in the lady who begged to see her son, I was immediately informed of my mistake. Taking the citation as an actual message from my superiors meant assuming that they had now caught the lady (otherwise how would they know?) so my act of kindness was all for nothing. More generally, the constant unfailing observation gave the impression that my job was kind of unnecessary because the authorities knew all that was going on anyway, or were rechecking my work.

Personally, I guess I would have liked it if there had been more of a risk factor to the citations. You might get away with a mistake, but it might well be picked up on later (particularly if you let someone in who would then get arrested or kept someone out who would later complain). You could even have it so that you are rewarded financially for every illegal immigrant you keep out, meaning that the downside of kindly letting one through would be a missed reward rather than a citation.

The citations do serve a useful purpose in letting players know where they have gone wrong when they are learning to play, however. Perhaps you could have an initial probationary period of a few days during which time someone will supervise everything you do?

Anyway, this was just a niggle rather than anything which really spoiled the game - the current system still worked perfectly well for me. I'm just musing aloud in case any of my thoughts can be of use.

I couldn't work out if there was a time limit to each day. If there isn't then I think it might be nice to include one, rewarding players financially for getting through a lot of immigrants (perhaps after a minimum quota which is always processed, allowing you to make sure story characters are kept in) but at risk of making more mistakes which could see them heavily penalised.

Finally, a couple of really small suggestions from pedant's corner:

The 'interrogate' button seemed a little small and I missed it quite a few times when clicking. Could just be my problem, of course...

I would have liked the countries to be listed in the handbook by alphabetical order, so that I didn't need to keep returning to the map.

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Core Xii
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« Reply #297 on: March 17, 2013, 10:30:53 AM »

To submit your name, you need to enter your email address and click the activation link that gets sent to you. You can't edit that text directly.

Ohh... the page says "Enter a working email address for a confirmation link to submit your name." (emphasis mine). The way most websites work is that you fill the form, then they send you an email with a link to confirm the information. Perhaps drop the "confirm" part from the instruction. Smiley
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johnki
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« Reply #298 on: March 17, 2013, 02:18:27 PM »

Okay, my girlfriend and I both agree that the vectorized one looks really nice, especially in the first-person view. The hqx one also looks really nice but not quite as nice as the vectorized one.

Also, the new passports are awesome. Hand Thumbs Up Right
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dukope
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« Reply #299 on: March 17, 2013, 09:32:37 PM »

Thanks very much for the detailed feedback Panurge!

The key moment for me came on the second day when I found myself scrutinising a man's documents more carefully than usual just because he had brusquely told me that he was in a hurry. You can just wait, you bastard, I thought. Now that's immersion!

I like that encounter because even though he (or she) is a dick, the docs are in order so you have to approve entry. I imagine there's a fair bit of those teeth-gritting moments for real immigration inspectors. I stamp the passport all crooked in those cases.


** SPOILERS IN FABULOUS GREEN **

If I remember correctly, the girl who asked for help actually gave me a brothel card on her way in. Given her story, she seemed unusually keen to advertise!

That card ties her into the other girls and the brothel story thread so I figured it was important to drop. I tried to make her seem less than enthusiastic about handing it over though.

I turned the brothel owner away without detaining him ... Perhaps this course could also be seen as helpful?

Other people have sorta mentioned this. I wanted this encounter to be a case where the player could "do more" than just denying entry.

My family died on about day 4 or 5...Did I miss something I should have been doing (I think I fed and heated them as best as I could)?

No, you didn't miss anything. The night-time family stuff is functionally implemented in beta, but it's not balanced yet. When I'm playing, I completely blast through each day with loads of money so it's hard to figure out what the average player will make. I'll get it tuned better before release.

A smuggler gave me a bribe for letting him through (which I actually did by accident). He told me it was 'as promised' but I don't think he had mentioned anything previously. I still pocketed it, of course!

Whoops! I can fix that so he only gives you the bribe after offering.

The citations troubled me a little because they seemed so omniscient....The citations do serve a useful purpose in letting players know where they have gone wrong when they are learning to play, however. Perhaps you could have an initial probationary period of a few days during which time someone will supervise everything you do?

Yeah the citations are something I decided are absolutely necessary for the gameplay aspect. Going back to the alpha, I find it really frustrating to not know exactly what I missed when getting cited. The immediate feedback also allows me to skip a lot of introductory tutorial text and let the player learn from their mistakes as they go. Story-wise the citations are a little thorny but I have plans to address that as well.

I couldn't work out if there was a time limit to each day.

There's both a time limit and a quota. You only get paid for applicants processed before 6PM, but all days have a minimum number you have to process. So the faster you are at approving/denying, the more money you'll make.

The 'interrogate' button seemed a little small and I missed it quite a few times when clicking. Could just be my problem, of course... I would have liked the countries to be listed in the handbook by alphabetical order, so that I didn't need to keep returning to the map.

I'll see if I can make that button a little bigger. Back when there were supposed to be more options it needed to fit exactly over the mic. But now it's the only thing there so I should be able to adjust it. I'll also change the country order in the rule book. I never flip pages (always go back to the map first), so the order is basically random at the moment.


Ohh... the page says "Enter a working email address for a confirmation link to submit your name." (emphasis mine). The way most websites work is that you fill the form, then they send you an email with a link to confirm the information. Perhaps drop the "confirm" part from the instruction.

I just updated the page, baking the name into the image and rewording the text Smiley


Okay, my girlfriend and I both agree that the vectorized one looks really nice, especially in the first-person view. The hqx one also looks really nice but not quite as nice as the vectorized one.

Ok, good to know. I'm now thinking about vectorizing just the faces separately and using hqx on the rest, with hand-tweaked fonts.

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