Saturday, August 11, 2012

Upcoming Patch

In the upcoming patch we decided to get slightly more ambitious with the way we handle sound in the game. More specifically, with how we handle the background drone tracks.

While working on the climax of Chapter 3, it became painfully apparent that the current music system was hopelessly lacking. Since the game will only become more and more dependent on music and sound in Chapter 4 & 5 we decided the time was ripe to chuck the old system and begin from scratch.

The old system could only handle one track and would fade that track out while transitioning from one room to the next. This was done so the music wouldn't become grating during a long load. The code was obviously written some time ago, when speedy connections were still pretty rare.

Nowadays, loading a room takes a few seconds or less, so the music never really becomes a problem.


With the new system, the music will just keep on playing when you transition between rooms (provided they play the same background track), seamlessly modulating the volume and pan of the track.

In the end, we hope adding background tracks will be a lot easier – so a room can have two (or more) background drones, unnoticeably blending while you walk around in the world. In a game so dependent on atmosphere and mood, these small system changes makes a huge impact and we really hope you'll like it.

We're also working on a system that broadcasts interactive hot spots if you press the space bar. Searching for what you can and can't interact with (pixel hunting) is one of the most tedious tropes of adventure gaming, and we're glad to see it alleviated.

Is there another feature you'd like to see in the game? More auto save points? More interactive objects? Just write a comment and we'll take your suggestion into account.

Cheers,

 - a

17 comments:

  1. does this mean chapter 4 is coming soon?

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  2. Something I really liked particularly in the first chapter was the variety of interactions available (the little hanger on hanger joke comes to mind) and the dialogue options with the wife, where you could choose your tone for the conversation.

    Looking forward to Chapter 4!

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  3. I just want to say thank you so much for making the game so awesome. Waiting for the next chapters is totally worth it in my opinion, your doing an amazing job! The more time you spend, the better it will be obviously.
    Thank you!

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  4. I liked the thing with Victor 6/9 badge in ch. 3, where you could be in "disguise" for another member of the crew. more interactions are always good. music is certainly strong part of the game, I liked most of the tracks, the end of ch. 3 in particular was very emotional. keep it up :)

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  5. Suggestion. Allow the music to be turned OFF but keep the sound effects ON. Thanks!

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  6. I didn't realise there was music in the game. Oddly, all the time I played it, I kept thinking - "This game would really be great if it wasn't do quiet. Where's the background music?"

    Anyway, really hope part 4 comes out soon, looking forward to continuing the fantastic story!

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  7. I'm glad to hear about this music update, because I've always found the silence between rooms somewhat awkward.

    While we're speaking of transitions, I've also always found the loading bar when transitioning between rooms unnecessary most of the time. The transition is usually fast for me, and a fade in and out of black without the bar would look better and avoid breaking the immersion.

    Perhaps the loading bar could be set to appear only if loading has taken more than 3 seconds (or whatever time is determined to be best), and when it does appear, it could be made more subtle.

    I made mockups!

    http://imgur.com/hXXcY
    A standard rounded rectangular loading bar in the lower right corner.
    This is the least subtle, and resembled the current loading bar.

    http://imgur.com/ROwvr
    A slightly lighter dark gray gradient creeping in from the left edge.
    I think this is the most subtle, and one of my two favourites.

    http://imgur.com/w4QXe
    The game's title slightly grayed out, with the white part increasing from left to right.
    I personally think this one is the most beautiful, and my other favourite.

    http://imgur.com/qTL2w
    A grey bar growing along the bottom edge of the screen from left to right.

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  8. In all honesty the main thing I want to see is chapters 4 and 5. Its great and very refreshing that you continue to tweak your game after it has been released as technology now freely allows, but I can't help but to feel slighted having already beaten the game.

    Updates are sweet, story driven point-and-clicks, even with such fantastic visuals as this one, have a (very) limited replay value.

    Not to sound ungrateful, I am just really looking forward to parts 4 and 5 and am confused as to why they are never mentioned in updates when part 3 was released months ago.

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    Replies
    1. You misunderstand. We're not working on tweaking the game instead of working on Chapter 4 and 5. We're tweaking the game WHILE working on Chapter 4 and 5. They're not mutually exclusive since they all run on the same engine.

      While working on Chapter 4 and 5 it became obvious that the music manager needed an overhaul, since the last chapters require more musical control. That's why we're doing this update. The change will affect the previous chapters as well, since it's an engine level update. But the main reason we're doing them are because yet to be released chapter demand it.

      I hope this makes it clearer.

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  9. More musical control sounds like my cup of tea. The sounds in this game are great, so kudos to whomever made them!

    Just finished chapter 3. Enjoyed it very much. Also trying to promote people to get this game - I think this'll be a sleeper hit or even an upcoming classic. There's just something about the mood, the visual style and the dialouge, that creates something that at least I've never felt in any point and click-game...

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  10. Hi guys, love the game so far.

    I do have one response to your "interactive hotspots broadcast" idea. I think it's true that searching can be tedious, but isn't that the point of an adventure game? I remember spending a lot of time in chapter 2 before I found the openings near two of the stone faces because those "clickable spots" were hard to find, but that's what made me explore the area more and sweat it out a bit. Isn't that the challenge?

    Perhaps, assuming there is a hotspot revealing button implemented, there could be a timer on it? For example, you could only use it after 5 minutes have passed since you arrived. Or, it could only reveal things that you've already highlighted, like a reminder. O

    Otherwise, people will just go into a room, check the hotspots, and 50% of the game will be dramatically simplified and effortlessly revealed. Instead of looking for the mouse holes in the ship in chapter 3, for instance, I would have already guessed upon first entering those rooms and checking for hotspots that I would need to know where they are for some future quest, making the game a lot more predictable. Just a thought.

    Anyway, I've loved the music so far (and would actually like more of it) and am glad that it will be even better in the future. Thanks!

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  11. I'm with the fellow with the serial-number handle. Hotspot broadcasting would ruin the game for me. Scouring the scene for every little, potentially meaningful detail is a major part of the joy of playing any point-and-click adventure games, and it's especially fun to do in The Dream Machine: you've created lovely, moody settings; scrutinizing them is a privilege and a delight. Really, what's the point of all of that lovely setting design and claymation if players can casually press a button and ignore all of it?

    The updated music transitions sound like a giant improvement. The old system drove me batty.

    I wonder whether you guys were much influenced by the game Bad Mojo.

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  12. Yeah, I'm starting to swing regarding the hotspots. It would be fun to tie it to some kind of hint economy, but I don't think this it the right game for something like that.

    The new music system is a joy. I can't wait it push it live.

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  13. Would you ever, by chance, consider putting in some voice acting?

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  14. I'm glad the hotspot idea has the line through the text now. It would have completely ruined the game for me. Keep up this fantastic adventure! I love this game

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  15. This is very good , thank you very much for this great post about the steam. Know what i just bought all the steam games. Thank you very much this is the best!

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