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1048209 Posts in 42499 Topics- by 34385 Members - Latest Member: woolycaveman

October 02, 2014, 08:30:22 AM
TIGSource ForumsFeedbackPlaytestingGray
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Author Topic: Gray  (Read 9908 times)
Darren Torpey
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« Reply #20 on: April 23, 2009, 09:13:20 PM »

I enjoyed playing this game because:

  • It was short and simple
  • It felt quite meaningful & evocative
  • It was a truly unique experience for me

I think I can safely say that any game that meets all three of those criteria is worth playing.

I suppose it helped that I went into it with zero expectations (it was a preview/beta, so I hadn't heard anything about the game). My main concern, while playing it, was that it would go on too long, but I felt that the progression was almost perfect. (The game does end, and it's not as long as you might think it will be be, at first)

I found that I really sympathized with my character, who seemed to feel as though he or she was the one sane person in a mad crowd. (Turns out, you can't bring crazed people to reason simply by barking opposite ideas at them -- at best, you'll just turn them into a different kind of crazed person.)
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godatplay
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« Reply #21 on: April 24, 2009, 07:51:09 AM »

Thanks for clarifying, Tom.  I think we're on the same page, then, it's just that I was entertained by the game and you weren't.  I guess it felt like playing to me.  And really I think that's some of the best reasoning you can give - it didn't feel like playing.

Maybe part of it is that I haven't played too many games with quick-time events, so it seemed more novel to me?
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JLJac
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« Reply #22 on: April 24, 2009, 09:10:21 AM »

For us people with a 15 second attention span it's too hard to find the game at your site. I just saw the game with a fish, the game with a rooster and the game with hail. You need to put your new stuff up front so people... Ok, my attention span ran out, bye
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fucrate
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« Reply #23 on: April 24, 2009, 11:36:56 AM »

For us people with a 15 second attention span it's too hard to find the game at your site. I just saw the game with a fish, the game with a rooster and the game with hail. You need to put your new stuff up front so people... Ok, my attention span ran out, bye

Sorry you got lost JLJac, but greg posted the link directly to the game on the first post of this thread.  Though, to be honest, if you don't have the patience to find the game on our site, you probably aren't gonna like it anyway Tongue

As far as Tom's comments, and in general the whole "games should be entertaining" thing, I totally agree. Maybe not "fun", but if Gray was a more compelling experience, I think more people would play to the end and actually end up taking more of the message away rather than the confusion.

I think Macbeth isn't "fun" per se, but I think it's totally compelling.  It's kind of a good example for comparison actually.  Ideally, Gray has an interesting premise that drives people to play it and read some subtext and shit, but if you can't understand the basic gameplay mechanics, that becomes a big barrier to appreciating it as art.  In the same way, if you can't really understand what the actors are saying in a Shakespeare play, it will end up being tedious and boring to you, despite how much Macbeth means to people who can get through the olde-timey language.

Just so we're clear, I'm not comparing Gray to Macbeth in terms to quality of the work, I just see some parallels Smiley
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godatplay
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« Reply #24 on: April 24, 2009, 12:38:45 PM »

Well put Mike.  I guess I was able to get through the olde-timey-ness of Gray, and I enjoyed it as a result.  Tongue

It kinda comes down to the "accessibility" factor that a lot of indies have been talking about lately.
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Alec S.
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« Reply #25 on: April 24, 2009, 01:39:47 PM »

I think the argument has been caused by people's varying definitions of entertaining.  I'd say something doesn't have to be light and humorous to be entertaining.  I guess enjoyable would be a better word?

I think currently the game is enjoyable as a game, or at least parts of it are.  The main problem is that as the game get's more interesting, it also gets shorter.  I can accept making the game for the sake of the art, but don't use that as an excuse not to tweak it so that the game element of it is as enjoyable as it can be and still convey the message.

I think you just need to shorten the first two phases, and maybe lengthen the later phases a bit.  If you do this, people will enjoy the game much more and be more likely to finish it.  The way it is, after the first phase, people are likely to think "wait, shouldn't that be it?  Do I have to do more of this same thing?" since the first 2 phases are rather repetitive.  The gameplay itself gets interesting and ejoyable to play at around the third phase.  The first phase works as something of a tutorial, but it is also the longest section of the game.
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aeiowu
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« Reply #26 on: April 24, 2009, 02:31:41 PM »

That's a fair point. I really don't think I'm making excuses for the game here. I'm very happy with the way it turned out. We both are. Semantics might have something to do with it regarding entertaining/fun/engaging/compelling etc. but whatever... This should clear things up a bit more maybe?

The fact that it's frustrating, or you feel it's hopeless/pointless is 100% intentional and what we want players to feel. If the majority of people quit, well that's not surprising in the least, in fact I think it says something very interesting about people in general.


To answer your question Tom about brochures vs. interactive applications(games) as media...
This is a really good question, and is worth spending a lot of time on. I spent a while trying to do so, but I won't do it justice. I'd say the thing that interests me about interactive media as a medium for expression is player agency and its wild, emergent potential for interpretation.
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Zaphos
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« Reply #27 on: April 24, 2009, 11:21:46 PM »

The fact that it's frustrating, or you feel it's hopeless/pointless is 100% intentional and what we want players to feel. If the majority of people quit, well that's not surprising in the least, in fact I think it says something very interesting about people in general.
It says that if you make something that feels pointless, people will stop doing it?  As a matter of self respect, really.  I'm not convinced that's 'very interesting' ...

I would say add that if it feels pointless, then the game itself is telling you to stop playing it -- that becomes a part of the message.
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Chris Z
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« Reply #28 on: April 24, 2009, 11:39:02 PM »

I liked this a lot, my interpretation was similar to the one already presented in tiny text, which isn't too difficult to conclude.  I didn't think it was boring, it was engaging enough for it's length.  If that gameplay had to be kept up for several hours then yes it could've gotten monotonous. 

I thought the sound and visuals really captured the confusion in the game and your character.  The transitions felt like he was saying "wait a minute, but..." before changing his stance and trying to understand the other side again.  The way you could still interact (as futile as it was) with people in your final state really added to the message assuming the player attempted it.  That was a very nice touch.
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Alec S.
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« Reply #29 on: April 24, 2009, 11:42:16 PM »

The thing is, though, I found only the first part of the game to feel tedious and pointless.  The latter part of the game was actually pretty compelling.  If you want it to be about a feeling of hopelessness, you should have that feeling start small and increase over the course of the game, not the other way around.

Also, I thought the most interesting part of the game was the sudden feeling of powerlessness at the end when you become gray, which is the reason I think it's worthwhile as an interactive experience.  I think that that's a much better way to deliver the message of futility than to have the player quit the game out of frustration.
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fucrate
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« Reply #30 on: April 25, 2009, 10:28:49 AM »

I agree, the impact you get by playing to the end is so much more powerful than just quitting in frustration.  In fact, I still feel the emotional jarring when I play through it, even though I've played it more than anybody else. 

I think the monotony is really important for creating that moment, though.  A lot of games are all about repetitive actions done over and over again, slowly gaining competence until by the end of the game the player completes complex actions without really thinking about it, it's a core part of what drives people to play games.  We have the same type of progression in Gray, but at the critical moment, everything kind of goes to shit and they player is totally lost.  It's hard to say you would get a similar impact if you only had to do half as much in the first few parts, you might not get enough time to get into the right head-space.
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Alec S.
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« Reply #31 on: April 25, 2009, 12:05:04 PM »

I think the later parts could be made a bit longer to compensate.  I also think there needs to be at least some visual difference between the phases so that the player doesn't think the game is in an infinite loop.  After the second phase, a lot of players are going to assume they've seen all the game has to offer.
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JLJac
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« Reply #32 on: April 26, 2009, 08:01:09 AM »

I finished it. Very interesting Gentleman
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agj
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« Reply #33 on: April 26, 2009, 11:11:24 PM »

I loved this! Aesthetically perfect, and a message well conveyed. I would have made it go back and forth fewer times, but that's a minor complaint. The first time it happened was a real 'oh fuck' moment. I also like what you did with the logo.
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tafty
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« Reply #34 on: April 27, 2009, 01:34:00 PM »

I think the graphic and sound design is brilliant but I have to admit to being an impatient fool who is glad of the spoilers posted here.  It's a very clever message and concept but wasted on those of us who were searching for the water cannon to disperse the crowd of protesters  Tongue
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Zaratustra
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« Reply #35 on: April 28, 2009, 06:24:01 AM »

Problem: It's not immediately obvious that the game has an end, and without further information, it looks just like an endless repeating game with a boring mechanic.

A possibility would have been to make it an Ikaruga-like game: First you're a white ship shooting black enemies to turn them white, then a black ship turning white enemies black, then you figure the rest. That'd keep players interested until the climax.
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thomasmahler
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« Reply #36 on: April 28, 2009, 06:29:50 AM »

Problem: It's not immediately obvious that the game has an end, and without further information, it looks just like an endless repeating game with a boring mechanic.

A possibility would have been to make it an Ikaruga-like game: First you're a white ship shooting black enemies to turn them white, then a black ship turning white enemies black, then you figure the rest. That'd keep players interested until the climax.

Quoted for agreement.

I love the games premise, but making the player repeat the same freaking mechanic 5 times until you get to the point is just a tease. You're lucky if people actually get til the end - I would have quit after my second or third (at best) attempt someone wouldn't have told me that it has a nice ending.

I like what you wanted to say with the game, but the mechanic in itself isn't too interesting to keep me focused.
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Zaratustra
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« Reply #37 on: April 28, 2009, 07:16:46 AM »

I get this increasing feeling that the TIG community is moving, as a whole, into "games" that have no gameplay per se and are just a short theater scene that makes a very blunt statement.

BUT I AM JUST A GRAY DUDE SHOUTING IN A SEA OF WHITES AND BLACKS
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godatplay
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« Reply #38 on: April 28, 2009, 07:45:35 AM »

Hahah, nice quote there.

I think the community is just getting more comfortable with experimenting, and as a result, the variety of things being created is increasing.  There are still plenty of developers doing retro/nostalgic games and games that present new ideas that are still all about gameplay.

It's a pretty awesome time to be a part of the TIGSource community. Tiger
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Zaratustra
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« Reply #39 on: April 28, 2009, 09:03:16 AM »

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