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Dear Esther
show user profile  herfst1
Hey, just played through this game twice. It's really well made and full of symbology. Thought I'd start a thread to see if any of you chaps can work out the story and symbols in the game. Yes, there's a sight dedicated to discussing this game but the people commenting (in general) have Forrest Gump level IQ's.

I won't spoil anything I've worked out so far in case any of you want to play through yourselves.

read 697 times
2/18/2012 1:22:16 PM (last edit: 2/18/2012 1:22:16 PM)
show user profile  StevegeK
Yes, there's a sight dedicated to discussing this game but the people commenting (in general) have Forrest Gump level IQ's.

Surely you mean, a websight?

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read 686 times
2/18/2012 1:51:58 PM (last edit: 2/18/2012 1:51:58 PM)
show user profile  herfst1
Yeah, I mean a website. I just thought the game's got amazing graphics, an interesting story, deep symbology and is written by a professor and would be good to discuss with intelligent people as opposed to "website" people, if you know what I mean.
read 679 times
2/18/2012 2:14:17 PM (last edit: 2/18/2012 2:14:17 PM)
show user profile  jareu
from what I've seen this game looks phenomenal. I'm having trouble with PayPal at the moment but I'm itching to clear that up so that I can play it!

He who says it cannot be done is interrupting the man doing it.

read 669 times
2/18/2012 3:02:51 PM (last edit: 2/18/2012 3:02:51 PM)
show user profile  Loud
Played through it and the art and atmosphere are wonderful. To nitpick though, I can't help but feel like I was a floating camera and not an actual human in the environment. I don't know if that's a result of working on games and being slightly jaded but that really took me out of the experience. It felt more like I was on a Disneyland ride and less like I was in a world.

I turned off the subtitles as they were too distracting so I may not have gotten all of the story, but it didn't really catch me the first go round. I want to get it but it feels like work to have to go through and play it again.

If I were less busy perhaps I could enjoy it more. Perhaps I need to slow down to take it all in rather than try and get through it just to see what everyone is talking about. I tried though, I really tried!

There were moments that were very intriguing but most of it just came off as me wandering slowly through an environment while getting talked to occasionally by a disembodied voice.

If you want to get spoilery please do. I would like to know more about it as it is an intriguing concept.

read 660 times
2/18/2012 6:19:07 PM (last edit: 2/18/2012 6:19:07 PM)
show user profile  BishBashRoss
I hate that floaty camera feeling. First thing I noticed with Skyrim also. Downloading now Dear Esther now. Something awesome about starting a game and not having a clue what you are going to get, don't get that often these days.

read 657 times
2/18/2012 6:22:13 PM (last edit: 2/18/2012 6:22:13 PM)
show user profile  herfst1
Minor spoiler: did anyone notice the ghosts?
read 647 times
2/18/2012 7:15:20 PM (last edit: 2/18/2012 7:15:20 PM)
show user profile  Loud
Yeah, those were the "intriguing moments" I was talking about. I followed one up a path but it just dead-ended. Again, that reinforced the Disneyland ride, on-rails, feeling. I feel like the game has missed potential by not being a video game. This is pretty much an interactive video. No real choices are available other than to follow pre-defined paths and wander up dead-ends which are a little frustrating because you walk so slowy.

I went up to where one of the ghosts were on a cliff and it was intriguing mainly because it looked like and obvious suicide jump spot. I jumped off and got the default "come back" message that you get every time you die. In fact I killed myself many times in the game off various cliffs and drowning in the water to see if the story I was trying to uncover was about suicide or something, but no.

I think I'm really critical of the game because I see so many missed opportunities to make it more than just a walk-thru movie.

read 634 times
2/18/2012 8:25:28 PM (last edit: 2/18/2012 8:25:28 PM)
show user profile  herfst1
I completely agree with the disney-ride effect comment. The funny thing is, when I neared the end of the game and the story became clearer this effect only added to the atmosphere (for me). I'd love to say why but that would be a spoiler.
read 632 times
2/18/2012 8:30:19 PM (last edit: 2/18/2012 8:31:28 PM)
show user profile  Loud
Wow that's interesting because at that point in the story I had the opposite reaction. At that point I threw my hands up in the air because the game wasn't going to develop further in a direction I wanted to see.

So it sounds like it's the story that I need to get a grip on to really appreciate that moment?

Lately I've been much more interested in games where the story is revealed through the world, not world through story. I don't like a bunch of words telling me what I should think of the world, I like the world to do that. After playing Dear Esther it makes me want to play this Cradle game so much more:

It looks more up my alley where I am participating in the story and it is revealed to me at my own pace through my own discovery.

Edit: I suppose it could be a time / effort / budget issue as well. As I hurl all of these disappointments at what really is a beautiful game I think of the game I'm working on and realize I'm guilty of a lot of the same issues. I use a lot of dialog and text to develop characters and world. To tell a story without a wall of words takes much more effort in creating interactions and scene assets that allow the world to be fleshed out enough to tell a story.

read 624 times
2/18/2012 9:04:56 PM (last edit: 2/18/2012 9:14:05 PM)
show user profile  herfst1
There's no right or wrong when it comes to preferences. Lots of people like this game and lots of people don't like it (for the very same reasons you don't).

The reason I liked the lack of control was...


The fact that the protagonist was already dead and reliving his own version of an afterlife of regret, be that purgatory or hell. So the floaty feel of the camera added to the listlessness of his spirit wandering through his life of regret and loss. And it also added to the notion that he almost didn't choose the ending of the game but was railed into following that course (as he might have done countless times over). Note: if you save and load up the game at the end (black screen) you see him staring up at the night sky at the two streaks of contrails.

Regarding having to follow the course for the game to continue, that did irk me when I didn't know where to go (Chapter 2 particularly) but I suppose that's okay if you assume he's stuck in his own memories where sometimes he can get lost. I would have liked a few moments where he opened a door or interacted with the environment but, since he was a ghost, I don't suppose that's possible (though he did startle a sea gull).

P.S. What type of game are you working on? If it's a MMORPG then I wouldn't worry about using too much dialogue or text. Just stay away from cinematics, I friggin' hate them.

P.P.S. that Cradle game looks really cool.

read 615 times
2/18/2012 10:00:51 PM (last edit: 2/18/2012 10:00:51 PM)
show user profile  Loud
Cool, that all totally makes sense. I couldn't quite make out who I was. I thought I was Esther the whole time. The reason for that is probably because the very first thing I did in the game was turn around and walk into the water. When the voice said "Come back" I figured he was speaking to me as Esther. I appreciate the different reactions that we had to the game and that's why I find the game so interesting.

The game I'm working on is called Catapult for Hire ( I'm actually trying to tell a rather involved story in a cutesy game. I like the juxtaposition of some potentially dark themes in a happy colorful world.

I hate cinematics for the most part as well so that's interesting that the final moments of Dear Esther struck you in a positive manner. Wouldn't it have more impact if you were the one that performed the actions at the end?

read 608 times
2/18/2012 11:39:42 PM (last edit: 2/18/2012 11:41:22 PM)
show user profile  herfst1
Catapult look's fucking awesome!!!!! Great styling, Sega Master System sounding music (which is a good thing btw), and an awesome and addictive looking gameplay. Looks like you're going to be very rich. I can't believe you made that all by yourself. I'm seriously impressed. Especially when you consider Angry Birds was made by a whole team and it took them 4 years (if I'm not mistaken) to complete.

So, one question: When's it going to come out?

P.S. Yes, I hate cinematics but I always want a good payoff at the end.
read 602 times
2/19/2012 12:03:45 AM (last edit: 2/19/2012 12:03:45 AM)
show user profile  Loud
Haha, thanks! Yeah, the funny thing about Angry Birds is that I was working on Catapult for Hire before that came out. Also, I was planning to have outer space levels in my game from the beginning and just a few days ago Rovio announced Angry Birds Space. Seems like I can't avoid being compared to Angry Birds no matter what I do! Kinda funny...

I was hoping to have the game done this Spring but I've officially gone into a "When it's done" release date. I'm determined to get the game right. I'm hoping to have it done by this summer, though that's what I said last summer. :)

read 599 times
2/19/2012 12:28:38 AM (last edit: 2/19/2012 12:49:24 AM)
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