Hi Thomas,

Speaking of puzzles. You mention things like pushing a certain switch to unlock a door in another room, but I don't really see that as a puzzle. I see that more as a random action that just happens to do something. I mean, there is no logic that explains why this switch should or should not open that particular door. Do you see where I'm coming from? In other words you would not be able to figure it out with an intelligent process of deduction, you would have to try things at random to see what happens or be told by someone else. Puzzles that are in some way connected to what they actually do, I would call those proper puzzles. But just pressing a certain switch somewhere has no logical connection with the door in question in my mind.

Another problem with this is the environment setting. My upcoming game is set in a jungle, and there would be no logic for me to use switches or similar high-tech devices to accomplish things. I could make it so that you had to jump on a certain stone to accomplish something but it wouldn't make any logical sense, it would just be something you had to do to progress but there would be no particular reason for doing so. These kinds of puzzles turn me away from a game rather quickly, since if I don't see a reason why I have to do something it doesn't really create an enjoyable experience. It becomes guesswork rather than gaming.

What are your views on this?

Kind regards,

Philip Bennefall
----- Original Message ----- From: "Thomas Ward" <thomasward1...@gmail.com>
To: <phi...@blastbay.com>; "Gamers Discussion list" <gamers@audyssey.org>
Sent: Wednesday, March 09, 2011 7:45 AM
Subject: Re: [Audyssey] Seamlessly upgrading DirectX

Hi Philip,

Philip wrote:

I don't have much trouble navigating in a game such as Monkey Business or Shades
of Doom. I just don't find them very interesting, because I spend more
time trying
to figure out where I am going than actually doing things. In my mind,
figuring out
a maze is not enjoyable.

My reply:

Yeah, I understand. This is purely a matter of personal preference. I
happen to like maze games so obviously that genre of game is apealing
to me where you aren't into mazes so it is less enjoyable for you.

Philip wrote:

As for audio games not being as developed as mainstream ones, I think
the reasons
behind that are fairly obvious to both of us. Time, number of
programmers, and money.

My reply:

Yeah, I know. Writing accessible games is a thankless job with too
much work, too little time, and not enough money to do it proper. I
know just creating Mysteries of the Ancients I'm working myself to the
bone trying to create the kind of side-scroller I want to play and it
is not easy. There is just too much work to do with too little time to
do it in. Add to that I'm working on a very slim budget so certain
sounds, voice acting, whatever has to slide until I have the money to
add them.

That said, there are small things we can do to make our games more
like the mainstream counterparts that would greatly improve the game
play in my personal opinion. For example, in a lot of classic Nintendo
adventure games there might be a treasure chest on the floor. It is
locked, and you can't open it without unlocking it. Well, as you look
around the room there might be a button, switch, or pressure plate on
the floor that unlocks the chest. If you jump and land on the
button/pressure plate the chest pops open revealing a bunch of jewls.
You know, something like that doesn't take a lot to program, but I
haven't found really any accessible games begin to explore these types
of game play elements.

Which probably brings me to one more reason why accessible games
aren't as advanced as mainstream games. Most of the VI game developers
have been blind from birth and have no experience playing mainstream
games. They are creating games from a limited background with games in
general. It may not have occurred to them to add in little puzzles
like jump on this or that switch to open the tresure chest or pull
this lever to unlock a door in the next room etc. Yet these kinds of
puzzle elements have been around for years in mainstream games. I
believe this is because most blind game developers hasn't had any
prior experience with mainstream games before they started writing
this or that game.

Philip wrote:

If we had a team of perhaps 30 or 50 programmers working for a full 6
or 12 months
on a title with a few million dollar budget, I am positive that we
would certainly
catch up.

My reply:

No doubt. If I had that kind of time and money I could hire the best
sound engineers, programmers, musicians, and produce something on par
witht he mainstream market. However, like you say that isn't going to
happen so we have to make do with what we got.

Philip wrote:

Until the development stops being a hobby and becomes the full time
activity of a
semi large company dedicated to audio games, we will be standing on
pretty much the
same spot. Sure there will be advances every now and then, but I'm
guessing we're
still roughly 20 years behind the mainstream industry.

My reply:

Probably. Its hard to gage where we are in terms of the mainstream
developers, because not every accessible game developer is aiming for
high tech or advanced gaming. I know with Mysteries of the Ancients
I'm aming for a game more or less on par with the Tomb Raider
side-scrollers produced in the late 90's for the Nintendo Gameboy. In
fact I've been using Tomb Raider Nightmare Stone and Tomb Raider
Prophecy for ideas here and there as both are side-scrollers and much
of what is in them can be made accessible. So perhaps 15 years behind
the mainstream for a game like MOTA.

Shades of Doom is quite a lot like Dom I and Doom II. The original
doom game came out in 1993 and Doom II came out in 1995. If we use
that as the beginnings of first-person action games for the mainstream
market Shades of Doom puts us at roughly 15 to 18 years behind the
mainstream market in terms of first-person based games alone. So
saying we are about 15 to 20 years behind is probably about right.


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