Wadjet Eye Games

Author Topic: Question for the fans!  (Read 36447 times)

Offline DaveGilbert

  • Administrator
  • Hero Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 2192
    • View Profile
Question for the fans!
« on: June 24, 2010, 02:00:02 PM »
Hi everyone!  After about a month of mulling this back and forth and deciding what direction to take for the next Blackwell game, I am faced with a choice.  So instead of flipping a coin I figured I'd approach you guys directly and ask what you think. 

My question is basically about production values. Do they matter?  There's no question that the graphics in Convergence were much prettier than the previous two.  This did help the game sell more, but since the graphics cost more it made very little difference to my bottom line.  This makes me wonder if the people who bought Convergence would have bought it anyway, pretty graphics or not. 

So, I suppose the question I want to ask is... does it matter?  As people who have bought the games before (and presumably liked them, since you are on this forum) what led you to buy them?  Were you wowed by a screenshot?  Or was it something else?  Would you still buy a Blackwell game if I went back to the graphical level of (for example) Unbound, as long as it maintained the same level of quality in all other areas (like story, characters, voice acting, etc?)

This is an internal debate I've been having for quite some time, so I'd appreciate any feedback you guys have!

Thanks,

-Dave
« Last Edit: June 24, 2010, 02:02:14 PM by DaveGilbert »

litrock

  • Guest
Re: Question for the fans!
« Reply #1 on: June 24, 2010, 02:12:13 PM »
If it gets us the next Blackwell game in a timely fashion, I really don't care about moving the graphical level back. I thought all the games were gorgeous in their own way. But in reality it's good design that matters over a base level of 'MOAR GRAFIX'. If the characters are good, well drawn, and the set design is interesting, so long as everything else remains the same how couldn't the game be awesome and on the level of the others? 

So ... no, I don't think it matters. Simple graphics can convey great things if used properly. It's a matter of making the most of what there is, not simply having more of it. 

Offline playclever

  • Newbie
  • *
  • Posts: 1
    • View Profile
Re: Question for the fans!
« Reply #2 on: June 24, 2010, 02:28:51 PM »
Arriving via Twitter...

The quality of the first Blackwell was good enough for me, it's the art direction more than resolution or anything fancy that appeals.  If I cared about the graphics I'd imagine I wouldn't have got that far!

I came to Blackwell via The Shivah, and it's largely the story and the characters that make me so keen on a new one.  I say pick the elements that were most time intensive (I'm curious as to what they were) and go after them aggressively.

Offline Pseudobushia

  • Newbie
  • *
  • Posts: 5
    • View Profile
Re: Question for the fans!
« Reply #3 on: June 24, 2010, 03:22:45 PM »
For me personally, what makes a truly great game is the voice cast. =)

Offline Lestaticon

  • Newbie
  • *
  • Posts: 5
    • View Profile
Re: Question for the fans!
« Reply #4 on: June 24, 2010, 04:11:39 PM »
Thinking back about that, the graphics update didn't do anything to fuel my final purchase. I actually liked the graphics of Unbound. Graphics are an interesting subject. I think it affects people in different ways, depending on their personalities. For me, a narrative game like Blackwell, graphics are not particularly important up to a certain point.
However, the voice work, story, characters, and gameplay are more important than advanced graphics in my opinion. Bringing back the same voice actors where possible or to reprise their role is also a huge plus as a fan of the series.


Offline AltMagOnline

  • Newbie
  • *
  • Posts: 9
    • View Profile
    • Alternative Magazine Online
Re: Question for the fans!
« Reply #5 on: June 24, 2010, 04:55:19 PM »
This is a tough one really Dave. You know from my reviews on HardyDev that I think a 10/10 Blackwell game is only a matter of time.

Overall, do graphics matter? Well, not always, but for adventure games I would argue yes.

The rain effects in the most recent Blackwell game were amazing and really made me buy into the world as soon as I started playing. I also loved the graphical style: it just felt like a more commercial product than the previous two. I felt more involved.

Whilst people may have bought the game without these improvements, I am unsure about how another sequel, which doesn't use these improvements, would come across. I guess that is the trouble with sequels: everyone expects more with each installment!

Offline Andrew Goulding

  • Wadjet Programmer
  • Newbie
  • *
  • Posts: 2
  • Feed your inner child
    • View Profile
Re: Question for the fans!
« Reply #6 on: June 24, 2010, 07:59:10 PM »
Point and click adventure games are boutique games in my opinion. They don't have mainstream appeal and we should acknowledge that.

For this reason I think you should experiment with charging more for your games if they require this to make their money back. I'd suggest going for a price point of $19.99 and not releasing through the casual portals.

And to the fans of Dave's games. If we all pay a bit more for Dave's games, it will allow him to continue making them at a good quality and frequency. Which will mean that the few developers still passionate about point and click adventure will have the ability to keep making them. I will gladly pay a higher price for a unique game in the genre I love the most.

On that note, please check out Jolly Rover: http://www.brawsome.com.au/JollyRover.

Sorry Dave, couldn't help giving it a plug =0).

Nadif

  • Guest
Re: Question for the fans!
« Reply #7 on: June 24, 2010, 11:19:30 PM »
Hi Dave,
I've been an admirer of your adventures since your early AGS times. I loved both Bestowers and Two of a kind, a lot; as a matter of fact, now that I remember, I came to know your work back with" the Postman" in the RON series. So you can easily imagine that I don't give a damn about hi-res graphics or fancy special effects. You are one of the most amazingly talented guys in today's adventures business, and that's because you're great at creating a story, shaping up characters that make us feel, writing meaningful dialogs, creating brilliant puzzles inserted in a smooth gameplay... do I need to go on? As far as I'm concerned, you could as well design the next Blackwell games in 320x200 EGA and I would eagerly play all of them straight away.
« Last Edit: June 24, 2010, 11:27:49 PM by Nadif »

Offline DaveGilbert

  • Administrator
  • Hero Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 2192
    • View Profile
Re: Question for the fans!
« Reply #8 on: June 25, 2010, 05:48:47 PM »
Thanks for the responses, everyone!  As I've progressed with this game development thing, I've spent a lot of time debating what my next move should be, or what the fans and the audience could want.  It's very interesting hearing your thoughts, so I'm probably going to be asking more questions like these as I go forward. 

@Pseudobushia
Hah!  Recording the voice acting is my favorite part of production!

@altmagonline
That's been the main source of contention!  I would love to continue the series in the "convergence" style and it would be painful to turn back the clock production-wise.  Normally you expect to see graphics improve over time, although nobody seemed to mind the graphics in Unbound.

@Andrew
Charging you guys more is not something I'd want to do.  I am considering doing what I did with Unbound.  I.e., Lowering the production values but also lowering the price to compensate.  Both me and the customers benefit.  I pay less to make the game and the customer pays less to buy it.  Unfortunately, the end result isn't as slick and pretty.

Oh and everyone, you should totally go and buy Andrew's game.

@Nadif
Thanks!  It's always nice to meet people who have been following my stuff since the "Two of a Kind" days.  And the fact that you remember "Postman" takes me back.  It's been... gosh, ten years since I wrote that thing.  Yeesh, thanks for making me feel old. :p



By lowering production values I'm not considering turning Rosa and Joey into stick figures (although that would be an interesting style on its own!).  The style I'm thinking of going for is along the line of Ben Chandler's work (Ben's actually on board to work on another project of mine).  His style is very simple, but very evocative.  But we're still in the early stages, so as with everything... we'll see!

Keep your thoughts coming, guys.

« Last Edit: June 25, 2010, 05:55:38 PM by DaveGilbert »

Offline myhatty

  • Newbie
  • *
  • Posts: 17
    • View Profile
Re: Question for the fans!
« Reply #9 on: June 26, 2010, 03:52:19 AM »
i don't mine the graphics i mean all these people are mulling over what the trees look like when its the story that counts with me can you bring back zoogle and what about  a cell phone i have so many ideas bt ill keep them to myself as you probably don't care

Offline Shany

  • Jr. Member
  • **
  • Posts: 75
    • View Profile
Re: Question for the fans!
« Reply #10 on: June 26, 2010, 02:57:06 PM »
I also wouldn't mind going back to Unbound style graphics. Like Nadif, I became a fan after playing the RON games, and that was because of the characters, writing and puzzles.

Offline Igor Hardy

  • Newbie
  • *
  • Posts: 4
    • View Profile
    • a hardy developer's journal
Re: Question for the fans!
« Reply #11 on: June 26, 2010, 04:17:16 PM »
This will be less about what I like myself, and more about what I think the majority of players likes...

Graphics are definitely very important, especially if there are already expectations built towards them. I believe a lot of people would feel they're not treated fairly, if the new Blackwell didn't match the standards they came to expect after Convergence.

So if possible I'd really recommend keeping ProgZ for the animations, as well as including the character portraits (which add a lot of personality to the characters). I wonder though if there isn't a way to make the work on the backgrounds simpler and less artistic without that becoming awfully apparent to most people.

One of the things I really like about the games (particularly Convergence) is that they are so strongly based on New York City and despite some stylization feel very real. Maybe this time around  instead of completely repainting real life locations you could create (at least some) backgrounds through just tinkering with photos. Even a game like Gray Matter doesn't seem to be above that. But maybe the idea is foolish and getting good results with this technique in low res wouldn't be cheaper at all.

Also, I know very well I'll be dead as soon as some pixel artist happens to read this suggestion.
Watch the trailer for Snakes of Avalon adventure game. Coming July 2010!

Offline starrynight

  • Newbie
  • *
  • Posts: 9
    • View Profile
Re: Question for the fans!
« Reply #12 on: June 28, 2010, 04:45:12 PM »
Arriving via Twitter as well....... (meant to response a while ago and forgot!)

While I noticed the difference between the level of graphics, it's definitely not something that would have encouraged me to or kept me from buying a Blackwell game. The Blackwell series is (as other people have mentioned) so strong in terms of story and voice acting that I would buy them no matter what. I've been hooked for a long time and it doesn't really have much to do with graphics.

Keep up the great work! REALLY excited to hear you're working on a Blackwell game again.

rockford

  • Guest
Re: Question for the fans!
« Reply #13 on: June 29, 2010, 02:32:37 PM »
Hi!

IŽve just seen on adventure-treff.de in the News that you are asking the fans about graphics and production value of your games.

I am new to your games. First I bought Puzzle Bots (the game you publish). After that I bought Emerald City Confidential which disapointed me only regarding the distribution channel and had nice graphics, a great story but was a little too easy. Next thing I did was downloading the demo of Blackwell Legacy unfortunatly the demo had not really a riddle to give an impression how it would play but I bought it anyway. It took me a little time to get used to this pixelated graphics, they really look a little, lets say: unusual on 22" wide Screen. So and that perhaps the point: I am 36 years old and started playing computergames when such lowres graphics (and even lower) where standard but what about new players? The first impression you get is from the graphics. Most of the younger players would not even give these games a try if they see them. For me that  not really was the point to buy the games because I hoped for a good story, but I am a long term adventure gamer and I know that good graphics do not allways make a good game (For example look at Paradis from White Birds). I think good graphics will attract new players for sure. The difficult question is if enough new players will be attracted to "pay the bill", not easy indeed. 

Greetings
rockford

ps: IŽll only give Jolly Rover a try if its avaible on CD or a decent download service that does not install stupid nagging software like steam. Bought one Steam Game ... never again, my computer belongs to me not to valve or anyone else.... The ordering over plimus worked well, hope you keep that. CanŽt wait for a new Blackwell game :)

Pretty Sammy

  • Guest
Re: Question for the fans!
« Reply #14 on: June 29, 2010, 10:46:40 PM »
Hey, this is my first post on the forums! ^^;;;  Wouldn't have figured it'd be a response to the creator.

For me, the graphics in an Indy game aren't nearly as important as writing and voice acting.  As long as the graphics aren't distractingly bad, I really don't mind. :)  I liked all three games' graphics, despite the difference in quality between them. 

I do like the "portraits" that accompanied Legacy and Convergence, but I realize they must cost money. :)  I'd miss them if they left, but they weren't HORRIBLY missed in Unbound.

So in short, graphical prowess isn't that important to me when purchasing a game.  As long as they're passable and cohesive, I don't mind the quality much at all!