Friday, March 02, 2012

Video Chat about Making Adventure Games Ron Gilbert - Monkey Island, Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade

Did I say "fraud" I meant "opportunity"
Here's some random notes:

  What are the most common problems adventure games have?

  •  Given the key before you see the locked door.
  •  Completely ridiculous solutions that would have only come through trial and error. 
  • A solution the inventor hasn't thought of, or a perfectly legitimate reordering of steps that isn't accepted.
  •  Testing is important. 
  • What I learnt on Monkey Island was more than three lines of dialog is a bad idea. 

Why did adventure game die?

I don't think they died. I think they're just as popular as they ever were but other games have over taken them in popularity.

Is it that modern gamers don't have the patient for adventure games? When I play adventure games it's about quiet contemplation. I think a lot of the puzzle solving for adventure games happens when you're not at the computer.

 In most development environments it's not considered okay to be stuck in a game.

The internet is an always available hint book - does that take some of the enjoyment out of the game. (Dan: I think so) Adventure games have purposeful backtracking. It's a fine line between frustrating confusion and entertaining confusion.

  What makes adventure games good?

 There's more than one puzzle that you can work on at any one time. That way you're not totally stuck and have other puzzles to work on.

As you progress and go to new puzzles previous people you've met should have updated dialog with more hints for the current situation.

Screen writers from Hollywood don't transition into games well. There's a real trick to writing interactive dialog - it's not writing cutscenes. The dialog in Monkey are the good - you're really interacting with these people. You feel like you're have a conversation. When we put up four lines for Guybrush that was an opportunity to put up four jokes that the user could read at once. People who write dialog should be programmers - or at least have programmed. So they know how to wire it up.

Think about the character and the puzzle and story at the same time. Part of really good design is being able to quickly iterate. The ability to go in and change things and see the changes.

 Full Throttle has 20 main puzzles. For Grim Fandango aimed for 40. Monkey Island budget was $130,000.

What's you favourite puzzle?

 It's the grog puzzles where you have to transfer the grog from cup to cup before it's melts the container.

  On thing I would never do in an adventure game. Pixel hunting. Just waving the cursor from top to bottom of the screen for a 4x4 pixel area.

Dan : A lot of the talk centers on Limbo which means I should check it out!

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