Sunday, June 24, 2012

Love/Hate Satellite 1 - Incursion

For anyone wondering, it's totally unrelated as usual, but here goes the reason for the title of the post:

Now that this is out of the way, here we go. I'm only gonna say this one, so read carefully: the games I'll bash here, I love a lot and deeply care about. They're GREAT games. Everything I'm going to say here is either extrapolation, exaggeration or plain ill will. I am not legion, I forget a lot, but I won't forgive. It's bullshit that's "so easy to make better" from your layman's point of view (which I am, when all is said and done). And I still fucking LOVE you all, devs. ;-)

My goal is to point to various flaws, "papercuts" as Canonical would put them (okay, give me a while, I'll be puking after citing THEM). Little things that could get so much better. Simply put, it's an IMHO I'll bias as much as I can against a given game. It's something I'm not used to, and given I've been writing about games every now and then, it can only prove beneficial to me in the end (and who knows, it may be useful to some game dev out there, you never know).

First up, thus: Incursion.

Firing the game up, here comes a first screen. Lasts for, like, 2/3s. And that's TWO THIRDS of a second, not two OR three seconds. Now... Seriously guys... If I'm to tweet about your stuff, gimme a chance to. How the hell am I supposed to read it and let it sink in if the screen is gone as soon as it appears? Are you kidding me? Do I look like an idiot who can't take a "clicky to continue" shit? Isn't it, like, the kind of stuff that would let you preload all you want instead of showing me ANOTHER screen where you tell me you're preloading shit you could have preloaded on this screen?

It may not look like much, but look at it this way (and I'm spoiling here, because I've been around the game several times just to make sure it was as bad as I'm saying now): I saw what you did there. There's a sweet reminiscence of Sworcery about the game. But Sworcery gives me a chance to tweet from inside the game, and I don't have to go through endless pains to share my experience with the Twitter world. Why the heck are you barely letting me read about that hashtag?

Also, and this may be due to Ren'Py, I frankly don't know and I couldn't care less: why the heck can't I send something from within the game? It sure is a thin line to tread, and would perhaps require windowed mode, but... Hey. There's some heavy bits of fucking great writing in your demo. Gimme more. Gimme a fucking reason to tweet. Show me what you can do with 100 characters. That leaves me 40 to comment about shit, that gives me a reason to tweet to begin with. I want to read that "dev commentary tweet" and share how fucking awesome that scenery was, how I could read that bit of text all day long, how Borrego's music feels like bloody heaven here.

Heck, I even want to be able to tweet about how the game sucks at this point. It's bad for you, but it's good for me. What in blazes were you thinking here, seriously?

Game started, off to the options just because I want to...
To do WHAT exactly? Would you PLEASE let me read what the options are? I can barely work out "auto-forward time" there. What exactly were you doing, huh?

Right. Better not dawdle in the options, at least that's one thing you can do correctly (well, apart from making them readable, that is).

So. I'm an idiot, as anyone can tell, so I better click "Help" and... just... wait... What the HELL?

Look buddy, I know you got better things to do than make a help file, but this is just ridiculous. I don't want to waste a quarter waiting for my browser to start up. I want my bloody help in-game. Like, something that does not distract from the task (or, rather, the chore) at hand. That won't take forever to load. That sports the same bloody mood you're trying so hard to get me into.

Plus, it's 2012 out here. Dunno if you were aware. But either you give me a nice page, or you make use of embedded fonts, you gimme a nice background, I don't give a damn, but PLEASE do SOMETHING. Anything. It's just... empty.

Anyway. So I still started the game - you can't really say I'm not of good will after doing THAT, can you?

Well lemme tell you: it took me about 10 seconds to beat the heck out of your dumb parser.

Seriously? "Yes, nope"? ARE YOU FUCKING KIDDING ME? If you want to use a parser, at LEAST use it seriously, not like you don't give a damn. You DO know players will come up with stupid shit, right? RIGHT?

Doesn't look that way to me.

SO I keep going, and then you ask me what town I come from. I DON'T GIVE  A FUCK. And I am most displeased when you don't give me a default name when I press "Enter". I mean, seriously, why do I HAVE to choose THAT? Because you have enough of that thing people call when other people come up with stuff, doesn't mean I do. What if I just want to go on with the game?

Fine then. I'm not going to argue. You want me to give a name, I'll call it "fuckdanoobston". Like that's better than anything YOU could come up with with all your smartiness and stuff.

And yet I go on with unwavering will. What the heck IS wrong with that game? The old man's been raving about rollback and stuff, there's been shit going on on my screen, like, death popping up every now and then, and I finally get a nice twilight on top of the mountain or god knows what.

Except... Wait... Could someone remind me of something? Doesn't the fucking light CHANGE at dusk? Like, stuff going all red, then dark and shit? Even more so while the big orange ball in the sky disappears?


No sun. No change. It's fucking NOON up here, guys. Not enough budget to give me a proper twilight? Meh. Just put a fucking "red color" filter all over the place, add a bloddy timer, and play with the alpha of a fucking blue/black overlay. Shit'd be much better than THIS.

You DO want me to look at the scenery. Don't deny it. THEN WHAT THE FUCK WERE YOU THINKING? AGAIN.

Then I get to name the fucking mountain. And I still can't go with whatever YOU called it. Now I guess I better set shit straight.

When I want to play a game, there's always a part of me who wants to know what YOU did, WHY you did, HOW you did, WHEN you did, and whether it was with or without condoms (and I don't give a damn about the petty war "french condom" vs. "capote anglaise").

It's not just because I'm as stupid as a brick.

(I'll stray from the path I set here. I'm dead serious about this one. When I set to play a game, it IS to get sucked into its creators' (-'s) vision. I don't give a damn about naming my hero "Sir Fucksalot". Devs, gimme an option. A sane, well thought-out one. One which gives me reason to pause and think about what you did there. More on this later.)

So I'll call it "Condomountain". Stupid? Yeah, we can agree on that one.

And there I stand, stuck with a text engine that's trying to confuse me by calling me "nope" right after saying "yes", doesn't add capital letters to whatever shitty names I gave to the town, the character, the mountain and god knows what I haven't typed in yet. Seriously guys, are you actually even TRYING?

(and, jokes aside once again, I'm REALLY using and ABUSING this "nope" shit just to get the better of games. You'd be scared if you knew how often it works.)

So I keep going, even if I seriously want to close the window, smash my hard drive into the wall and pour kerosene onto my bloody computer at this point. AND SHIT KEEPS COMING!

Like, the old fool keeps blabbering nonsense, gets me into a fucking cave I wouldn't put my intimate parts into, then...


This has got to be the scariest shit I've seen in a game, ever. Like, Silent Hill can't compare. Amnesia can't compare. This is as ridiculous as a wristwatch in Ben-H... Oh wait.

Guys, if you want to bore me with a character, I can take it. But this... This is... UNSPEAKABLE!

Then I put a computer - like, a fucking 80'S COMPUTER - in my backpack, Monkey Island style, and get the fuck out because that's the end of your demo.

And I'm presented with this screen:

I can't even begin to tell what's waorng (yes, waorng, that's how waorng it actually IS).

Let's break it down so it can soak in:

* Secret? WHAT FUCKING SECRETS ARE YOU TALKING ABOUT? No help. No clues. No nothings to tell me I could have been better (or, at least, less badder).
* Even if I put it out of the way, I actually SAW what you did there. I WAS there the first time around. Tell you what: I suck at English the way you suck at pointing me in the right direction. Like, "Finn the Human"? You DO know anyone who's from non-english parts of this bloody world doesn't have a clue what you're blabbering about right? Even if he READS what Finn the Human actually IS, right? Get your shit straight, pals. Gimme a clue. A cryptic one. Anywhere in your bloody game. The narrator, the computer, fuck it! Lemme click on a sheep to get a clue! "Adventure time" barely makes sense, even in context and knowing about it. And I STILL cannot figure out the new one. There's a difference between "Secret" and "Try everything you want, you won't find it".
* "Artifact found"? What? There's a way I can miss them? Like, the whole game seems to revolve around recovering artifacts and I can fuck it up? Either you get this shit out, or I'm getting the fuck out of here.

The saddest part is, that's that. You guys aren't even good enough to provide me with more material to bash you with. The chutzpah. Gods.

tl;dr: play Incursion. Now.

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