Lincoln 5: Quarantine

Discussion in 'Feedback Requests' started by redeclipse, Aug 20, 2010.

  1. redeclipse

    redeclipse New Member

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    Lincoln 5: Quarantine

    [​IMG]


    About the demo
    Lincoln 5 Quarantine is a demo of Lincoln 5: The Gateway intended to give people an idea of how Lincoln 5 will play. In the demo you are trapped in a quarantined section of a docking bay on the USS Gateway. You are the only living person in the docking bay. The room is littered with corpses. The strange thing is, however, that other than the fact that they are dead... they look completely healthy. The other thing you will notice is in the center of the quarantine is an ambulance shuttle.

    In "Quarantine" you discover that the one of the patients who were on the ambulance disappeared without ever getting aboard the Gateway.

    It is a point and click, so you can navigate using either the arrow keys or by clicking. The goal is to explore, find clues, and solve puzzles. The full game has over 2000 static images and over 4000 animation images... So this certainly isn't just another generic point-and-click. The game has been in development since November 2008 and is actually being developed using Torque for the PC, Mac, iPhone, and iPad.

    We will be releasing this game in sections. We hope to release more within a week or two. Currently you play exclusively outside the ambulance and there are three puzzles to solve. These are actually easier than the majority of the puzzles in the full game, as we wanted to give people a smoother learning curve.

    The unique thing about the demo, compared to other demos, is that once complete, the demo can stand by itself as its own game.

    You can download the game with an installer here: Quarantine (with installer)

    You can download the game without an installer here: Quarantine (no installer)

    If you liked the demo and want to help us finish the full game visit: our Kickstarter page.

    You can also visit: www.lincoln5.com to learn more about the project.


    About the Full game

    We are considering releasing a limited public alpha of the full game if the demo garners enough interest. The full game's scope is much much larger than the demo, so it is buggier. If you are interested in checking out the full game itself, let us know by posting your comments here.

    Thoughts?

    Let us hear what you think about the project. If you find bugs, or otherwise, let us know. We appreciate your feedback!

    Thank you!
     
    #1 redeclipse, Aug 20, 2010
    Last edited: Aug 20, 2010
  2. Reactor

    Moderator Original Member Indie Author

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    I went to download the demo, but the poor file hosting site you're using wouldn't tell me how large the download would be. So, I stopped downloading it. Use Dropbox instead, or tell us how big it is.

    First thoughts about the game from your promo video- ugly. The rendering is seriously dated, to the point where it looks like it should be a freeware game (seriously, I have seen freeware games that look similar, and with as much content). Also, there are lots of little things that make the artist in me want to cry, like inconsistent font choices and the horrible design of your website. The voiceover and music seemed okayish, but the sound quality was a bit ear piercing in places.

    You say this like that's a long development time. It actually quite common.

    Sorry if the above sounds harsh, but your game looks like one that was designed in a vacuum. That is, instead of researching the standards of game graphics and presentation, you just got on with making it. And, now what you have is a game that looks heavily dated.

    One final thing- I assume your game has quite a bit of text, so watch your writing.

    you discover that the one of the patients who were on the ambulance
     
  3. Bad Sector

    Original Member

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    Actually you are harsh and if you take a peek around you'll see that those graphics standards you talk about are nonexistent in indiespace :p.

    I wouldn't worry about the graphics, adventure game players tend to overlook them if the game itself (story, puzzles mainly) is good. In Greece adventures are very popular and I've seen games with graphics made in MSPaint been featured due to their story :).

    Also working on a game since november 2008 is a normal thing for AAA games with big budgets and a mission to huge multivoiced games like Mass Effect. Most games around here take about a year or less.

    You sound like those people who worked for years in AAA studios, suddenly discovered indie games and decided to throw around their wisdom. Since you actually are here since a while this couldn't be true, so i recommend you to try this :).
     
  4. Reactor

    Moderator Original Member Indie Author

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    This is a feedback request, you know. I'm sure there will be a bunch of adventure fans looking for great games no matter the visuals, but if you're potentially throwing away sales because your game has the design of something back from 1990, listening to someone pointing that out is a good idea, I would think.

    On the topic of game devlopment time, the point was that it's no boast saying a game took a couple of years to make. Is that full-time or part-time? It's easy for something to take a while to complete. It has nothing to do with AAA.
     
  5. Melin

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    I didn't play the game, I just watched the promo video.

    I'd recommend to have another go at the voice overs, especially when it comes to production. They need to blend in better.

    Overall, the music isn't bad at all, but it's not used very well in the video. It doesn't create tension at all. It's just "there". Work with dynamics, tempo and effects to make the video a lot more interesting. Especially at the end. The quick fade-out is a big no no.


    ____________________
    Staffan Melin
    Melin Music
     
  6. Bad Sector

    Original Member

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    There was a nicer way to say that you know, especially to someone spending two years making that, and all you said was only that. Yes most of the gaming public who won't care about what else except graphics a game has to offer, won't care about how long the game will be made. But he didn't asked for that - i believe that anyone around who thinks his game will have graphics as a strong point is delusional.

    Basically to me this sounded like "i won't download your game, but your images look like crap and here is a lengthy post explaining how crap they are".
     
  7. Dogma

    Dogma New Member

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    I downloaded the demo. Here is my feedback (I critique it as a commercial product that needs to compete with other products in the same genre):

    1) Don't make the hotspots invisible. Place arrows instead or something similar. It is not always clear to the player what his options are.

    2) On zoom ins and zoom outs when clicking an object, make sure the player has a button to zoom out.

    3) Make the objects that a player can interact with stand out a bit. Different ways to do this, highlights on mouse over, have them animated, brighten it a bit, or change the mouse cursor.

    4) You might want to introduce a hint system, also, get the player up to speed. Here I am standing in a dark hangar...no background info in the actual demo!

    The things above combined start to annoy very soon, because it turns into a screen clickfest, no idea what to expect.

    5) Presentation is too dark, and like mentioned earlier, outdated. This is all prerendered stuff. As a commercial title, you should try to increase quality and look at other games in the genre for comparison (Myst, Riven, Etc.).

    6) Resolution is pretty low. Considering you are rendering all of this, why not double the resolution?

    7) Where is the full-screen option?

    8) I like the in-game music. Got a good mystery feel to it.

    Based on the demo, it feels like a prototype. On the visuals, you can easily do better by selecting free stuff, or cheap items from sites like turbosquid. In terms of materials and lighting, it look like a 3D beginner created this, mainly because of the harsh lighting. You need to do some background research on that. In your case, I think this link could really help :http://www.cgarchitect.com/resources/tutorials/default.asp. There is a truckload of info on how to properly set up your lighting on the site (take a look at this one in particular http://www.cgarchitect.com/resources/tutorials/smoke3d/tutorial10.asp).

    Good luck!
     
  8. Reactor

    Moderator Original Member Indie Author

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    I've already said this, but how long someone takes to make something has nothing to do with it. It could have been one year and six months of drawing stickmen and six months of actual work. We have no idea. And besides, when someone asks for feedback in terms of viewing the game as more than a muck-around effort, all options should be viewed as valid, no matter how much effort was put into the game. I provided feedback as requested. I wasn't asked to deliver a diplomatic feel-good commentary to spur the developers onto success.

    I went to download his game but stopped for a legitimate reason. I provided a solution to that. As stated, I then provided feedback on what I saw. Both things I'd expect will be quite common to many people looking into the game. Everyone looking to sell games professionally knows you don't put your game demo up for download from a crappy download place, and you make sure your game isn't outdated if it's clearly targeting the average gamer, who expects more these days, as Dogma pointed out.

    Seriously Bad Sector, lots of people on this forum have been dishing out straight-up feedback for years now. Sometimes it's perfectly gracious, and sometimes it's just calling things as they are. If you're a developer who can't deal with the latter (not you, I'm talking about any developer), then you're really going to struggle dealing with gamers who'll plainly tell you the game is crap and never return to see if you've fixed it.

    Better to hear harsh comments here and now from a guy who doesn't have all day to provide the most perfectly written and encouraging feedback in the universe, than get stuck trying to sell a game nobody likes.
     
  9. Maupin

    Original Member

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    Exactly. I have to be in a really good mood and more trusting than usual to download from one of those places. A thousand gigs of bandwidth hosting plan is super cheap these days from various places like Godaddy, Dreamhost, etc.

    edit: I just looked and apparently the companies above are offering unlimited bandwidth with even their lowest tier plans. Wow.
     
    #9 Maupin, Aug 20, 2010
    Last edited: Aug 20, 2010
  10. Bad Sector

    Original Member

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    @Reactor:
    How long it took to make the game wasn't targeted to end players but for people here - this isn't a forum for players but for developers. In my opinion, no matter how bad a game look, you don't go and trash someone's two years work aggressively like this. Telling the truth doesn't have to come with venom you know. "Calling things as they are" doesn't equal "i'm going to tear you a new one". Leave that to the gamers. Feedback posts should be about avoiding this not doing it ourselves.

    Gamers will tear it apart and wish and curse all horrible things to OP and his relatives, but ask yourself if these people are OPs target audience. These people complain about multimillion productions, what chance a one-person or few-person developer has with them? I don't think anyone needs any more proof about that than what can be seen in GameTrailers' comments.

    Your post could have been
    The rest you wrote didn't helped a bit.

    Of course redeclipse (and some others) might not care and could extract that information from your post but what i'm trying to say is that it wouldn't hurt to try and provide helpful feedback since you volunteered to provide some feedback anyway. Even if all you care is graphics, since you said you didn't like the art, provide some constructive feedback on that ("your design is horrible", "the graphics are seriously dated to the point you should give the whole game away for free" and "your font choices are so terrible i want to cry" are not constructive feedback). I don't give feedback often because most of the time i don't know what to write (or, in this case, he didn't released a Mac version). But when i do i try to be helpful even if i don't like the game and when there is something from a programmer's POV i can give advice on, i do spent a few minutes and write it (doing a cloud shadow effect for some 3D shooter game comes to my mind - yes that was a while ago, as i said i don't do that often :p).

    As a side note, Dogma actually wrote good feedback.
     
  11. redeclipse

    redeclipse New Member

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    Version 1.0.1 Released

    I just released version 1.0.1 of the game, which is almost 4 times
    smaller than the original. It is approximately 40 MB. I've updated the links above. (The change will be reflected on the website shortly)

    I made a few other improvements which you can see in the release notes.

    I don't have time right now to respond to comments and suggestions people have made, but I will be doing so either later today or tomorrow.

    Thank you!
     
  12. Reactor

    Moderator Original Member Indie Author

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    How on earth after years of posting similar advice I'm Applewood's evil twin brother all of a sudden?

    No, it wasn't. It was targeted at anyone and everyone, as evidenced by the fact it's written on the website and the kickstart page. There's no targeting of what was written. It's a copy-paste bit of info that may as well be a press release. I'm not even confident the developer is going to come back.

    Trust me, what I said is nowhere near that. If you think that was with venom, you need to get out more.

    Look, this is one of hundreds of bits of feedback I've provided over the years. Based on the feedback I've gotten 99% of that feedback was appreciated. That's why I'm still giving it. Feedback it what it is. When you rock up to a forum and ask for free feedback, you take it in whatever form it comes. There's no rule that says the feedback needs to be delightfully sweet. If the artwork, music, writing or anything else evokes a negative emotion in the person providing that feedback, then you as a designer should pay attention to it. Complaining about how it was said is completely missing the point that your game has the potential to annoy people.

    On a side note, if you want to point something like this out to me in future, fire off a pm, huh? I'm sure threads like this would be a lot more readable without two guys arguing over this kind of stuff.
     
  13. Bad Sector

    Original Member

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    Ok, i might have overreacted a bit. I still don't like how the response was given but you are right about the pm part.
     
  14. Applewood

    Moderator Original Member Indie Author

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    Actually, you were kinda tough on him tbh. I save my best bile for those tossers that make a snake game and ask for marketing advice like they actually think they can sell it. :)

    I also tend to cut people a little slack if they do something in 3D. There's relatively few developers taking this on and I try to get behind those that do because whilst any frigger can knock up a 2D game, I still don't get why they want to.

    But back on my usual tack, this game has a loooong way to go. I've seen some fairly nice 3D stuff even in the freeware domain. If you want to go 3D but don't have the money for a good engine and lots of good art, try to avoid any realism at all would be my best advice.

    (Which I'm taking myself with great little war game. I'm trying to make it look appealing, but not in a call of duty way! It's still very much WIP though, so nothing in this pic has had any attention to detail or final art. Posting purely as an example of 3D without megabucks[​IMG])
     
  15. JGOware

    Indie Author

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    "I try to get behind those that do because whilst any frigger can knock up a 2D game, I still don't get why they want to."

    :rolleyes:
     
  16. Reactor

    Moderator Original Member Indie Author

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    Yeah, kinda tough. Not brutal though.

    Lincoln 5 is a 2D game. The graphics are rendered, which is true of many 2D games these days.
     
  17. Applewood

    Moderator Original Member Indie Author

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    Missed that bit. Yeah, if this is meant to be static screens of 2D then there's nothing here I'd feel like exploring further.
     
  18. redeclipse

    redeclipse New Member

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    Goodness. Well there is a lot to address here.

    I apologize for the delay in responsiveness. I've been very busy the past few days, but usually I get onto these sorts of things within 48 hours.

    First of all, some clarifications.

    The game you see here is not the game I am gearing to sell, nor is it the game I have been working on for nearly 2 years. This game I am distributing here is a demo that I made in less than 2 weeks almost entirely from scratch. The reason is this: The actual game is huge. Nearly half a GB.

    And its not just a file size concern. To whittle down the game into a demo would require me to section it off, compress it, and address a handful of errors and bugs as well as plot issues. The plot issues, by the way, more-so concern a few issues of player understanding via level design. The script is not the problem.

    I created this demo because it would be easier to create a smaller polished product. And, here's the important point: I wanted to give people an idea of the game's concept. It's more of a trailer than a game by any measure. Especially because the demo is incomplete. I wanted to release it in cohesive sections.



    Full game vs. Demo

    And while I'm on the subject... The full game has 10 different rooms, and over 2000 pre-rendered images. Over 6000 counting animations. It also has 16 puzzles, 12 original compositions by 3 composer, and 10 different scenes performed by a cast of about 8 voice actors. The full game was programmed using Torque.

    In contrast, the demo has just less than 200 total frames (including animation) goes between 2 rooms uses 2 songs from the full game.



    3D or 2D?

    Since you can't tell from the picture, Lincoln 5 is Pre-rendered 3D. Its' engine is 2D. However, it isn't all just plain static 2D. There are animations too. 4000 frames in the full game, and about 50 in the demo.



    Why Pre-Rendered

    I would love to build a full real-time 3D version of Lincoln 5. But I had two fears. The biggest concern was that whatever 3D engine I got hold of and utilized may not be able to render the scenes to be "beautiful" and furthermore, the disparity between the quality of graphics between Player A's computer and Player B's could be massive if Player B had an older machine that was less powerful. I wanted to provide a consistent and good-looking experience.

    Since my primary targeted platform from the beginning was the iPhone, I was extra-concerned about the graphic capacities of the platform. While the platform is certainly catching up, it is still considerably less powerful.

    The other reason, is that I was wary of trying to build it in 3D and the caveats therein. I am the only programmer for Lincoln 5 and I have never programmed anything in 3D. I figured it would be a safer bet to do something I more-so understood and could afford - because 3D game engines are expensive.



    The 3D looks "washed up" and dated:

    The graphics of the Demo have considerably less work done on them. They were developed over the course of 3 - 5 days. The graphics in the full game, on the other hand, certainly aren't "strikingly realistic". But they still look good.

    However, and I included a description of this linked to my Kickstarter page, I realize the graphics need work. I said that upfront and that is main reason I am even using Kickstarter in the first place. Where I have done the programming, all the 2D art, half of the 3D art, the design, marketing, and so on. I can't do everything. Not only am I not as good as I would need someone to be at 3D, but with everything I am doing on the project, I don't have the time.


    The most important point here, is that I've developed all of this with money out of my own pocket and I started the project while I was still in High school. Obviously the end product needs to be a quality product regardless of the circumstances of development.




    All that being said, this foray into the market (albeit in limited scope) has taught me a lot and I will be re-evaluating my direction on this project. I appreciate the constructive criticism that was made on this thread, and I appreciate any more that anyone can offer. (specific helpful suggestions like "this isn't good because... you can improve this by...")

    Thank you.
     
  19. redeclipse

    redeclipse New Member

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    So I posted on here on Monday and it said my post was going to be reviewed by a moderator. It hasn't showed up. And I apparently can't PM moderators...
     
  20. Reactor

    Moderator Original Member Indie Author

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    Thanks for going to the trouble to respond, redeclipse. The difficulties are just one of those things, as I'm sure you well know by now :)

    Nice explanation/backstory about development. As much as I complained about the dated nature of the images/animations, I have total respect for anyone who scales what it is they're doing to get something out the door.

    That'd depend. The reason why is down to rendering standards. The images look dated because the shaders and lighting used lack the sophistication of modern renderers. Your renders are fairly basic compared to a fair few found in Myst, which is now almost 19 years old. So, a lot has changed in rendering tech. Obviously some people out there love the dated look (a bit of nostalgia works wonders) and some won't really care what the game looks like, as Bad Sector mentioned, but I don't know if I'd run around telling people the game looks great.

    I am curious about the program you used though. I'll guess at Truespace, and then Bryce. Let me know :)
     

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