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TIGSource ForumsPlayerGamesJonathan Blow and The Witness
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Author Topic: Jonathan Blow and The Witness  (Read 11111 times)
quantumpotato
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« Reply #260 on: March 29, 2016, 05:24:28 AM »

7 million?! How did he manage to raise that cash?

He's claimed to sell $5 million of The Witness. 5 million / $50 is only 125,000 copies. http://the-witness.net/news/2016/02/fun-sales-fakts/

Now if only someone would respond to https://forums.tigsource.com/index.php?topic=54560.0
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joseph ¯\_(ツ)_/¯
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« Reply #261 on: March 29, 2016, 09:45:09 AM »

Now if only someone would respond to https://forums.tigsource.com/index.php?topic=54560.0

the answer is:


A) Develop a product to some point where you can start to market it/research about it, and hire a producer or a publisher or someone else with legitimate business experience, not just some indie scrubs trying to copy success stories they know nothing about.
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gimymblert
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« Reply #262 on: March 29, 2016, 06:42:36 PM »

publisher don't do much for you in fact:
http://research.microsoft.com/pubs/262301/washburn-icse-2016.pdf
“What Went Right and What Went Wrong”: An Analysis of
155 Postmortems from Game Development

Apparently if you don't have a good hook, you are doomed.
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« Reply #263 on: March 30, 2016, 12:57:15 AM »

I read somewhere, but my memory might be foggy, that he barely broke even with Braid after dumping almost all his money on it?

Still, that is an impressive achievement.
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Yeah.
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« Reply #264 on: March 30, 2016, 09:59:00 AM »

http://research.microsoft.com/pubs/262301/washburn-icse-2016.pdf
“What Went Right and What Went Wrong”: An Analysis of
155 Postmortems from Game Development

It's basically unfathomable to believe a small sample of developers who can't sell a product self-reporting why they think they failed is an effective thing to draw conclusions from -- something the paper brings up, but dismisses because the authors are 'candid' (? ? ? ? ?)

If they had special knowledge of why their product wasn't performing well wouldn't they have acted on that knowledge and performed... better ??


edit: okay the above stands on its own but seriously this entire article is amazingly spurious.

What kind of a conclusion are we supposed to draw from numbers like this:



does that have predictive power? are you more likely to get good at tools programming if you get a publisher? And what the fuck does the 'gone right' number mean in light of the 'gone wrong' number, there? What do these values even mean when they're from self reporting?
« Last Edit: March 30, 2016, 10:04:49 AM by joseph ¯\_(ツ)_/¯ » Logged

gimymblert
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« Reply #265 on: March 30, 2016, 12:16:51 PM »

I admit I was being political here Wink publisher are evil period, the more we cut them out the better we are. Although portal are replacing publisher now, damn steam DAMN!!!

 ¯\_(ツ)_/¯
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« Reply #266 on: March 31, 2016, 04:31:18 AM »

I have just finished The Witness, and I absolutely loved it. I loved how it teaches its rules to the player, I love the island itself, I love how varied yet similar all the puzzles are, I love the whole game visually. It all felt elegant and beautiful in its simplicity.

The whole game felt less like it was about figuring out individual puzzles, and more about learning some sort of language, a set of rules. Like you are exploring the logic mechanics of this island piece by piece just as you explore it spatially. It understands very well that games are at their best when you are learning something from them, and it banks everything on this feeling of learning and discovery being enough to push you forward. I wanted to see more puzzles so I could figure out all of the rules better. Every puzzle with mysterious symbols hovered in the back of my mind as unfinished business I need to get back to later, mysteries I can only solve through a deeper understanding of this or that symbol.
I don't have a single bad thing to say about this game. Can't think of a single thing wrong with it. If it had more moving parts and more bits to it, maybe I could think of something, but it is exactly what it wants to be and doesn't have anything missing. I think its a perfect game!

There were a few puzzles that had accessibility issues, but the game was designed in a way that it can be completed without em. That's not an ideal solution, but could be a lot worse. Not sure what could have been done to fix accessibility on the few puzzles using audio cues... Colorblindness issues could have probably been fixed pretty easily though, often you just need a slight color balance shift.

I have been watching reviews of it. Some people seem to have very specific ideals about what games should be like and how they should work, and it seems like they just aren't willing to play the game on its own terms.
Lots of people who ask for clarity, missing the point entirely and complaining the puzzle symbols were too abstract, or who just want the game to be something different. Lots of people who felt the game should have had more than puzzles. Some complaints that "its all just the same puzzle!".

A lot of people felt the game didn't have enough "rewards" to the player, which I find really bizarre. Here's a real quote from a real review:
"The only reward for completing puzzles is more puzzles. If you are the kind of person where the reward is the process of solving puzzles itself, then this is probably not a problem. But if the puzzles aren't fun in the first place for the player, this adds insult to injury."
I just don't even know what to answer to that. I've seen variations on this statement in several places.
« Last Edit: March 31, 2016, 04:40:51 AM by FrankieSmileShow » Logged

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« Reply #267 on: April 01, 2016, 03:53:30 AM »

A lot of people felt the game didn't have enough "rewards" to the player, which I find really bizarre. Here's a real quote from a real review:
"The only reward for completing puzzles is more puzzles. If you are the kind of person where the reward is the process of solving puzzles itself, then this is probably not a problem. But if the puzzles aren't fun in the first place for the player, this adds insult to injury."
I just don't even know what to answer to that. I've seen variations on this statement in several places.

With modern game design focusing on handing out rewards for every step you take within a game experience, players get used to the over-stimulation of accomplishment(minimal effort, high payout). The Witness, however, offers the journey as a reward; I can see why it could be unsettling, or un-rewarding if you will, to players who got used to over-stimulation. It is also common in modern game design to use a triple-verb loop, in which you earn currency from one of the verb to re-invest in another part of the game. This, again, reinforces the concept wher eplayers get a lot of rewards for almost every action they take in a modern game. That's my theory.  Gentleman 
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mpolney
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« Reply #268 on: April 03, 2016, 07:47:52 AM »

I didn't like it. The puzzles have you tracing out imaginary lines with your eyeballs like a tinfoil hat wearing nutter. The only challenge in the panels is figuring out what the rules are, which boils down to thinking about how the game was designed while playing it. There was some pretty landscaping, but the island is lifeless and strewn with off-putting kitsch items.
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« Reply #269 on: April 03, 2016, 09:08:12 AM »

I guess that's where the circlejerk rhetoric surrounding Jon Blow comes in. He wants you to be thinking about the way the game was designed by playing it because, in his eyes, the design is what makes a video game artful. He does this solely from the perspective of how interesting it is to a designer and he bares no mind to how interesting it might be to an average player.
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« Reply #270 on: April 03, 2016, 09:29:05 AM »

I didn't like it. The puzzles have you tracing out imaginary lines with your eyeballs like a tinfoil hat wearing nutter. The only challenge in the panels is figuring out what the rules are, which boils down to thinking about how the game was designed while playing it.

How far did you get? Past the early bits, there's more than enough challenge in puzzles where you already know all of the rules. The swamp is a pretty good area for demonstrating this.

For me, I found the puzzle panels a little bit hit-or-miss. Some of them were a lot of fun, but a significant number just felt like a slog to get through. The other stuff there is to do in the game was often more enjoyable...but it's entirely possible to get to the end of the game without discovering what one of the main activities actually is.
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« Reply #271 on: April 03, 2016, 09:49:41 AM »

Quote
but it's entirely possible to get to the end of the game without discovering what one of the main activities actually is.

what is that activity (i haven't played the game and have no interest to)
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quantumpotato
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« Reply #272 on: April 03, 2016, 10:01:24 AM »

Quote
but it's entirely possible to get to the end of the game without discovering what one of the main activities actually is.

what is that activity (i haven't played the game and have no interest to)

Do you mean the secrets? (the + number on your score)
Or the boat?
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Silbereisen
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« Reply #273 on: April 03, 2016, 10:07:54 AM »

i don't know. i haven't played the game and idk what those things are.
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ThemsAllTook
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« Reply #274 on: April 03, 2016, 03:24:59 PM »

I was trying to be vague to avoid spoiling it, but I guess I can just do this:

The other activity is to find patterns in the environment that take the shape of a circle and line that can be completed like a puzzle panel. Standing in the right place to see the pattern from a specific perspective is key, and sometimes you have to move objects around to get the right angle. It makes a satisfying noise, and I feel like a wizard when I do it.
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quantumpotato
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« Reply #275 on: April 03, 2016, 03:40:40 PM »

I was trying to be vague to avoid spoiling it, but I guess I can just do this:

The other activity is to find patterns in the environment that take the shape of a circle and line that can be completed like a puzzle panel. Standing in the right place to see the pattern from a specific perspective is key, and sometimes you have to move objects around to get the right angle. It makes a satisfying noise, and I feel like a wizard when I do it.

Yeah, the secrets. I enjoyed that part more than the puzzles too, satisfying to find them.
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mpolney
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« Reply #276 on: April 03, 2016, 05:44:36 PM »

How far did you get? Past the early bits, there's more than enough challenge in puzzles where you already know all of the rules. The swamp is a pretty good area for demonstrating this.

I got pretty far. I found the swamp much the same. In any case, even if there is meat at some point by that time the game has already totally undermined itself. Any special "rules" that aren't WYSIWYG should be revealed quickly and clearly.

I could go on with my criticisms. For example, the panels are an aesthetic disaster. They don't belong on the island at all, especially not in such ludicrous quantities.
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« Reply #277 on: April 04, 2016, 02:01:49 PM »

You don't see any value in a game where part of the overarching puzzle is figuring out the common rules between individual puzzles? Where puzzles are not designed to work entirely independently but instead all work together in that way, and figuring out one puzzle may teach you how to solve another you did not have all the information for earlier?
Do you think there is some inherent problem with that approach to game design?
I feel that is a very fun approach to making an entirely puzzle-based game, much more fun than basing a game's sequence on keys and locked doors. It proposes a fun alternative to that, anyway.

Making the panels stand out from the environment was a good idea. Figuring out the interaction bounds of a puzzle is never a mystery, your input is always explicit and obvious, and the real puzzle is always learning the rules of the little mazes themselves.
It also makes you focus on those screens alone, which makes the reveal of the game's obelisk secrets much more potent. Since they are outside the screens, setting up that the puzzles are always on the screens make it less likely that you notice one of those secret pathmazes by chance early on. When you first get to the top of the mountain and that one little panel hints you at the river below forming a trick-of-the-eye secret path, probably meant to be the first obelisk secret most people will find, you can then go back through the whole game and notice all those things for the first time. It makes perfect sense, a game-wide setup and payoff, that adds an extra little dimension to the game as you go back down the mountain to activate some more lasers you were missing. You now pay extra attention to everything, which also reveals a bunch of other little trick-of-the-eye perspective easter eggs, like that amazing one where a small statue nearby is reaching out to the giant woman statue coming out of the mountain.
« Last Edit: April 04, 2016, 02:09:37 PM by FrankieSmileShow » Logged

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« Reply #278 on: April 04, 2016, 02:05:10 PM »

I was trying to be vague to avoid spoiling it, but I guess I can just do this:

The other activity is to find patterns in the environment that take the shape of a circle and line that can be completed like a puzzle panel. Standing in the right place to see the pattern from a specific perspective is key, and sometimes you have to move objects around to get the right angle. It makes a satisfying noise, and I feel like a wizard when I do it.

puzzle games really aren't my thing so i will probably never play this, so thanks for explaining.  Smiley
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mpolney
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« Reply #279 on: April 04, 2016, 11:52:59 PM »

Do you think there is some inherent problem with that approach to game design?
I feel that is a very fun approach to making an entirely puzzle-based game, much more fun than basing a game's sequence on keys and locked doors. It proposes a fun alternative to that, anyway.

Puzzle games are rigid and limited in scope. So either you go with it on the graphics end with something very simple (as in Tetris) or you go with something more complex and have a mismatch between mechanics and aesthetics. In the latter case you need to get over the hump of learning the rules ASAP. For example, why can't the Sokoban guy pull the boxes? Nobody stops to worry because it's made abundantly clear from the start that this is how it's going to be.

The Witness handles this issue poorly. Rather than taking environmental clues and applying them to puzzles, you take patterns seen in the panels and mentally transpose them onto the environment in order to trace out imaginary lines with your eyes, resulting in magical happenings. And when the clues do run from environment to panel they are near-arbitrary nonsense. So whereas a game like Myst might cause a bit of mumbling about illogical clues, the clues of The Witness demand nothing short of a trip through the mind of a deranged game designer. At no point in the game can you forget about the mismatch, because understanding the mismatch is the point of the game.

As for the panels, these help a little by separating the logic puzzles cleanly from the main aesthetics. But even the simple aesthetics of the panels don't really match the mechanics, which is why it takes so much effort to figure out the rules.
« Last Edit: April 05, 2016, 12:06:40 AM by mpolney » Logged
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