The flaws

Re: The flaws

Postby Magic88889 » Tue Oct 04, 2016 12:15 am

I don't know about the acting. I mean, I know Robyn isn't exactly the greatest actor to ever live, and I abhor bad acting, but for whatever reason, this didn't really bother me.

First, it's Robyn. Seeing him again in a Cyan game was great. Second, he plays such a minor role in the game that and lack of acting ability doesn't really ruin anything for me. Very much like Myst, we get a few quick scenes to give us a bit of direction, and that's it. We also lacked any kind of balancing with somebody else. Think John Keston in Riven, or Brad Dourif in Exile. Or even David Ogden Stiers in EoA. It might have been less noticeable if we had gotten more of the other characters. I certainly would have welcomed more of Farley, and at least a little bit of the other characters that are mentioned. Learned a bit more of their stories.


Plus, honestly, I've seen worse acting on TV by supposedly talented actors who actually went to school for it!
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Re: The flaws

Postby BeigeAlert » Tue Oct 04, 2016 3:01 pm

Yea the acting was pretty cringe-worth at times. :(

Though as someone with a background in VFX, I was more bothered by how poorly the colors of the CW video matched up with the surrounding environment. He was a sort of gross greenish tint, and the surrounding environment was more orange. Wouldn't have taken too much effort to color correct that. Also, the chroma key didn't seem to be very well done either... too many hard edges where it should have been soft (eg hair)... though that may just be an engine limitation (no partial transparency in videos?).

Anyways, it's all really nitpicky stuff from me, overall Obduction is GREAT.
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Re: The flaws

Postby Lord Tulla » Thu Oct 06, 2016 6:17 am

I would agree that the loading time should be improved. In my experience with the game I found certain (transition?) delays annoying:
- Inside the trees, going up, there was a period where I had to wait (presumably for something to load) before my character would move further.
- The same delay occurred in the mine tunnel near the rotation buttons for the maze "ball" if I wanted to turn right and proceed to the lower door near the water.

Lastly (unless I just haven't figured out how) all access to the Villien capsule storage facility is blocked after destroying the Morang WMD device. I find that really bad as I wanted to go back and work with the retrieval machine. I see no reason to prevent general exploration of the worlds after (or just before) solving the game. Highly unusual for Cyan to do this. I enjoyed freely roaming Myst, Riven, URU, etc. Why not allow it for Obduction?

I hope Cyan makes a change to allow this access in their next game update...
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Re: The flaws

Postby belford » Thu Oct 06, 2016 8:42 am

Lastly (unless I just haven't figured out how) all access to the Villien capsule storage facility is blocked after destroying the Morang WMD device.


From that point on the capsule facility is being unpacked, so you would either run into crowds of people milling around (technically infeasible) or empty pods (not what you want).
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Re: The flaws

Postby Lord Tulla » Thu Oct 06, 2016 10:45 am

belford wrote:
Lastly (unless I just haven't figured out how) all access to the Villien capsule storage facility is blocked after destroying the Morang WMD device.
From that point on the capsule facility is being unpacked, so you would either run into crowds of people milling around (technically infeasible) or empty pods (not what you want).
Understood. But before addressing the bleeder, there is a lot of time left in the game where that would not be a concern - Lock the access points after addressing the bleeder.
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Re: The flaws

Postby Magic88889 » Thu Oct 06, 2016 12:06 pm

There is a way to do that. From the WMD device, you can easily get back to the beginning of the world, and from there back to the pod device. You should also, after opening everything up, be able to find a swap seed that will get you closer as well.
And if you need to get back through that final door, just do what you did to open it in the first place.
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Re: The flaws

Postby Lord Tulla » Thu Oct 06, 2016 12:31 pm

Magic88889 wrote:There is a way to do that. From the WMD device, you can easily get back to the beginning of the world, and from there back to the pod device. You should also, after opening everything up, be able to find a swap seed that will get you closer as well.
And if you need to get back through that final door, just do what you did to open it in the first place.
In my game, once the WMD device is destroyed, both access doors to the pod facility are closed (even the one from the Maray entry point that was initially open). Also, the overhead tram to the pod facility has a 3rd "airborne doorway" blocked that was open when the player takes the initial ride.
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Re: The flaws

Postby Mac_Fife » Thu Oct 06, 2016 1:41 pm

That's what I found too - you can't repeat the "pod ride" once the weapon is deactivated. While you can take the ride, you get stopped at the last door and then return to the start.
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Re: The flaws

Postby Magic88889 » Thu Oct 06, 2016 11:46 pm

Huh. I would have sworn that there was a way to get back there. I'll have to look at it again when I get a chance.
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Re: The flaws

Postby matthornb » Wed Oct 12, 2016 7:43 am

Yep.

We are very patient people, and we love Cyan as much as anybody, but we need to acknowledge the imperfections in their work so they can do better in the future.

The loading times were rather long, and the later puzzles required sitting through a ton of them.

Acting aside, there was a weird mistake in the FMV for CW when he removes his hat, half the hat is simply clipped off for a second and it is painfully evident where the edge of the FMV polygon is.

And it's not just that one area near the end that felt incomplete due to lack of budget - the part with that stupid box [won't elaborate], you get the sense it is part of a big puzzle but it does not turn out to be more than a red herring. Which is not merely an indication of the budget constraints and the fact that some sort of puzzle was removed, it actively misleads the player into fiddling with it to no avail.

Some of the backer reward objects are also red herrings but nowhere near as problematic as that object.

I also had black bars blocking my ability to read some pages, until I raised the resolution, and I had a vehicle visibly overlap with some rocks, and I got stuck in two places during the game, which I resolved by switching out of free roam mode to 'point and click' temporarily.

I also will note the delayed Mac release and incomplete VR support as issues.

All of that said, there was still a lot to like about Obduction, and I'm quite happy I backed it. I posted a similar string of 'Obduction flaws' on a Steam thread and it was a divisive thread insofar as you had the person who posted the thread resenting Cyan, for the flawed parts of the game's design, and a bunch of fans saying the game was amazing.

My message there basically argued that the game isn't perfect, it has bugs and limitations, but it is still generally a good game and Cyan will probably fix the bugs as time passes. I suggested that fans glossing over the imperfections of the game are doing Cyan a disservice - feedback is needed so Cyan can learn what they need to improve on.

Pretending the game is perfect is also likely to alienate non-fans and make them less likely to take us seriously.

Our fanbase is already perceived as slightly cultish, obsessive, insular, maybe a bit detached from the broader gaming scene.

The gap developing between our Cyan-fan adventure-game niche and mainstream gaming is a problem - if we cannot connect with a wider audience that will be a bad thing for the Myst series and the entire puzzle/adventure genre.
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Re: The flaws

Postby Altairien » Wed Oct 12, 2016 12:01 pm

matthornb wrote:And it's not just that one area near the end that felt incomplete due to lack of budget - the part with that stupid box [won't elaborate], you get the sense it is part of a big puzzle but it does not turn out to be more than a red herring. Which is not merely an indication of the budget constraints and the fact that some sort of puzzle was removed, it actively misleads the player into fiddling with it to no avail.

Some of the backer reward objects are also red herrings but nowhere near as problematic as that object.

I disagree with the box. I fiddled with it a bit, but I soon realized exactly what it was. It was one of the highlights of my play through actually. I love that Cyan poked fun at the genre. I don't believe for an instant that it was part of some puzzle that was removed. I believe it was entirely intentional as is.

The Backer rewards were easily ignored with the labels on and I'm glad Cyan has changed that setting to On by default. I didn't mistake a single Backer reward for a real clue.

I generally agree with your other comments. Obduction is not perfect - it's certainly no Riven - but I'm very happy I backed it. Whether Obduction's Steam badge replaces "Friend" (realMyst: Masterpiece Edition) as my current displayed badge remains to be seen.
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Re: The flaws

Postby Tahgtahv » Thu Oct 13, 2016 9:59 am

The option for rewards was on by default, but they turned it off. This only affects brand new players though, as the patch doesn't change any settings you already have.
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Re: The flaws

Postby Altairien » Thu Oct 13, 2016 10:56 am

Ah, you're right Tahgtahv. Didn't correctly remember which settings I changed to what. Making that particular setting OFF by default is a mistake in my opinion.
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Re: The flaws

Postby Marten » Fri Oct 14, 2016 10:19 pm

Re: Loading times - these are inversely proportional to how capable your computer is, and I'm not entirely sure how much leeway Cyan has to optimize load times in someone else's engine.

But, Cyan decided "minimum system specs," and they could have declared a higher bar than they did. No matter what bar they set, someone was going to run with lower specs and complain about it anyway... but setting the bar too low sets you up so that you ALSO have people within specs complaining, and then it becomes much muddier about whose complaints are legitimate and whose are not.

Re: FMV sloppiness - there's definitely some of that. As others have observed, the lighting on CW doesn't seem right. My take on it is this: He's a little too well lit, and after replacing the green-screen background, what remained needed to be color-adjusted to remove the greenish tint that remained. And one time I was watching CW speak, when he got to the end of his little monologue, he vanished before his window finished closing. It was jarring and bespoke a lack of polish that I normally associate with Cyan's work.

Re the machine: With credit to Mac_Fife... apparently it may be worthwhile to translate the Russian on the back of the machine. :twisted: And elsewhere on this forum (in the Hints & Spoilers section) there is some information about an obscure purpose. I won't say more, as we're currently in the no-spoilers section.

Re: Backer rewards as red herrings - I think Cyan was in a no-win situation on this. In 1.0 and 1.1, the labels for backer reward objects defaulted to ON, and some people complained that this broke their immersion (I know one person who turned them off specifically for this reason). Now in 1.2 they default OFF - and some people have complained because the backer objects are distractions and not meaningful to solving the game. When I first started playing Obduction, I found the labels very distracting, but later I decided that I liked having them on because I could make a game out of trying to find ALL of the backer objects.

Re: black bars & getting stuck - There were apparently a few issues like these that "did not come up in testing" before the release of Obduction. I personally was bit by a bug that caused one of the vehicles in the game to teleport and become stuck - and it was unrecoverable by any means I could find. After starting over, the issue did not repeat itself, but Cyan allegedly fixed the issue in 1.2. They've put in a fix for the black bars as well, although apparently that had another unintended consequence of making text "fuzzier" for some players. Game development is hard, especially so for Intel/AMD PCs (what we used to call "IBM Compatible" :lol:) where there are so many different models and configurations, some of which misbehave even if your software is perfect. But yeah - a bit more testing would not have gone amiss and avoided these embarrassments.

Re: Mac & VR - Technically the Mac version WAS released along with 1.0 for PC, just as a 'work in progress', at least for Kickstarter backers. But it's not (as my coworkers amuse themselves by saying) "done done" until there's a proper release of everything promised in the campaign. On this, I trust that Cyan had to weigh the pros/cons of releasing to a limited (but majority) audience and making others wait. The sad thing is, there may be people who'd have really enjoyed the game in VR but who may not care to go back and play it again and who were impatient to wait for the support.

Finally:
matthornb wrote:Pretending the game is perfect is also likely to alienate non-fans and make them less likely to take us seriously.

^-- This and everything else said immediately around it - very true, and can be said more generally as a rule for life: Do not lie or mislead others in an attempt to persuade them, you will do more harm than good. Be truthful and fair, and people will think more highly of your opinions.
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Re: The flaws

Postby Mac_Fife » Sat Oct 15, 2016 2:36 am

I don't have a strong opinion either way about the Backer Reward labelling - as Marten says, Cyan had a "lose-lose" situation on that. On one hand, it's interesting to find these items and to wonder what the back story behind them might be and what significance they had for the originators, but I also get the immersion argument. As for them being red herrings or distractions that might get mistaken for parts of puzzles well, isn't life like that? It's kind of like having tools scattered all over the house and garage and trying to find the one tool that'll open the battery cover on the TV remote.
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