Sunday, 5 January 2014

Game 39: Earthrise - Repetitive Bee Decompression

Captain's Log, Entry 3: "I have made my way deeper into the base on Solus, but have still not found any sign of human life. My only companion is an African bee named Eric, although his presence has mostly restricted my movements through to areas that have no breathable air. I've just found a solution to that problem though, so hopefully I'll be done with my initial sweep shortly. With any luck I'll figure out what happened here soon, and be able to set a new course so I can get off this damn rock!"


It's easy to blame the player for a lack of scientific knowledge isn't it!

Note: I've covered a lot of territory in my posts so far and will cover even more in the below post. Click here to see maps that cover all the way up to the end of this post. You'll need to download the file and view in Excel, as Google seems to split the worksheet into sections for some reason. Sorry to those of you that don't have Excel (I'm open to suggestions for sharing the worksheets effectively). The cells in purple are the areas I know don't have breathable air.

My previous post ended with me discovering the corpse of a doctor in the Research Laboratory. His suicide note had given me some idea what was going on, but it probably raised more questions than answers. I gained a little more insight from the research notes I found on the table in the lab, which were written by Dr. Edward Stanley (not certain whether the two doctors are one and the same). The notes describe how a researcher discovered a slime creature on a cupcake wrapper. The creature was dead, and the researcher wanted to figure out how it had died, in case the information became useful. His theory was that the creature asphyxiated due to the antioxidants in the cupcake, which may “have blocked copper haemoglobin’s ability to oxidise”. I had to wonder how this information was useful, but figured I’d know when the time came. Perhaps I could defeat the large gelatinous creature in the mine shaft by feeding it a cupcake?! I set out to explore the rest of the lab, focussing on the filing and storage cabinets on the back and right walls. Within the filing cabinet I found some biomedical records of various life forms indigenous to the asteroid. “Each creature’s file mentions a computer entry in the BIOMED database of the installation’s main computer. You quickly scan the files labelled Tymak, Brelt, Karik, Glitten and Zeld.” (10 points)


There's not really any reason for the (s) is there? It's not like I can open more than one at a time!


With the suicide note, the scientific notes, and this file, I was starting to get a bit overloaded with information within a short period of time!

The doctor’s suicide note had mentioned that the Zelds had learnt to use the airlocks. Now I knew that the Zelds were indeed alien creatures, but I wasn’t sure what else I could take from it all. Inside the storage cabinet I found a glass jar that contained a bee named Eric! I picked up the jar (15 points) and wondered what use I could possibly have for an African bee. Having checked out everything I could in the Research Laboratory, I made my way back to the Central Hub and took the east airlock. The plaque told me this would take me to both the Observatory and the Garden, and I soon discovered that the tunnels forked on the way to both destinations. I decided to check out the Observatory first, entering a dome-ceilinged room with a huge telescope positioned to make the most of it. The roof was closed, and the telescope was connected by cables to a computer, which in turn was connected to a printer. I figured I’d be able to control the telescope or open the roof from the computer, but I kept getting messages such as “The computer is operating” and “The printer looks like a printer” when I tried using them. My only success in the Observatory was to find a pair of field glasses sitting on the desk, which I picked up (15 points). When I typed “look at glasses”, I was given a closer look at them, revealing them to be military style binoculars with “fixed magnification and auto focus”. Way cool!


I bet I know who Eric's favourite singer is!


I really hope I get to use this at some point.


Nice!!!

With the Observatory section done, I re-entered the tunnel and chose the pathway that led to the Garden. I was in for a bit of a shock on arrival! As soon as I entered the Garden, I was told that I’d disturbed “the spider”. The doctor’s note had mentioned a spider in the garden, but I hadn’t expected one as big as the one I was now confronted with! Before I could react in any way, the giant arachnid wrapped me in web and lifted me off the ground. I was now going to starve to death or be eaten, but either way it was game over. I restored and tried entering the garden again, hoping that I might at least be able to type something before being attacked. It turned out I wasn’t able to type or move in any way, which suggested I either had to enter the Garden another way or take some form of protection in with me. I restored, and made my way back to the Central Hub to choose a new destination. I still hadn’t visited the Security Office, the Administration section, or the Recreation Area, but since the latter two had no oxygen, I went for the Security Office. On arrival I found much to check out, with a large computer, a doorway leading to an inner office, a terminal at the bottom of the screen, and a desk with various utensils on it in the middle of the room.


Seriously, a painting my three year old did this morning looks quite similar to this!


Oh joy! Another large computer that I won't be smart enough to use!

I started by checking out the computer, but as usual my character had no idea how to use it. The desk had a pad of paper, a pencil, a coffee pot, a mug, and a small folder with the words “Incident Reports” on it. I wasn’t able to pick up any of it, andthe incidents reports folder was empty. The door leading to the other part of the office was locked too, so I went and sat in the chair in front of the terminal. To my surprise, typing “use computer” brought up a DOS-like interface, and I was asked to select a database. I couldn’t think of anything to type as I didn’t think I’d read anything likely during my travels (If I’d gone through my screenshots I would have found the answer, but we’ll have to come back to this later). Once again, I made my way back to the Central Hub. I wanted to finish mapping the upper level before checking out the lower one, so that left only the two sections that had red lights above them. It was time to put my helmet back on! I did so, and then passed through the door to the south, intending to access the Administration section. On passing into tunnel AO1, I was most distressed to receive a message stating: “You hear a muffled pop as your pet bee decompresses. That’s going to cost you all your points. Sorry pal. Does that tell you anything?” My points reverted back to 0 out of 800, really driving the point home! Clearly I’d just dead ended myself, so restored back to the Central Hub. At least the game had the courtesy of letting me know!


I assume the supercomputers on Solus are running on the DOSBox 456.7 operating system


Could you be a little more direct? I can be a bit thick sometimes!

I was a bit perplexed at this point. I couldn’t enter either the Administration section or the Recreation Area, since Eric the bee would die. This got me thinking that I was at a massive disadvantage having picked up Eric early on. Should I restore and leave him in the Research Laboratory until I needed him? I decided to go check out the lower levels before considering other alternatives. After all, the use for my African bee might just be in one of the rooms down there. I took the south-west airlock and reappeared in an elevator. Pressing the down button took me to the lower level, where I was shocked to find a Lower Central Hub with yet another seven new airlocks to pass through. I really hadn’t expected Earthrise to have such a large environment! I was going to have to start up a new worksheet in Excel to map this floor. I now had the following sections available to me: N – Living Quarters, NE – Gymnasium, E – Engine Room, SE – Power Plant, S – Cryogenics / Emergency Exit, W – Mine and NW – Kitchen / Mess Hall. Unfortunately, there was no oxygen in the tunnels leading to the Living Quarters, the Engine Room, or the Power Plant, meaning I wouldn’t be able to visit any of them while I had Eric the bee in my possession. I didn't have any leads that would suggest which section I should visit first, but I chose the Mine for no other reason than I wanted to see if I could avoid the gelatinous creature somehow and get the pick axe.


Oh alright! Caption contest!


Holy Testicle Tuesday Batman! This base is huge!

On my way to the Mine, I entered a room full of lockers. I figured perhaps one of them would be unlocked, but unfortunately I wasn’t able to open any of them. There was a plaque on the wall warning me that I was about to enter the Mine, and it was only then that I realised I probably wouldn’t be able to. I saved my game and entered anyway, killing my precious bee in the process as expected. Oh well, time to check somewhere else out! I decided the Kitchen and Mess Hall would be my next destination, so chose the north-west airlock this time. I soon arrived at the Mess Hall, where I found a bowl of soup, a bunch of plates and a piece of chocolate cake sitting on a large table. The crockery was of no interest to me, but the cake was astoundingly still fresh due to high amount of preservatives contained within! Not only was I able to pick up a piece of cake (5 points), but I was also able to eat it (5 points). I picked up another piece and tried to eat that one too: “As you bring the piece of cake to your mouth, you realize that you have already had a piece, and decide not to make too much of a pig of yourself.” With the piece of cake in my inventory, I continued onward into the Kitchen proper, ignoring the door leading east out of the Mess Hall for now.


Ha ha ha. You're so incredibly amusing!


Seriously, I feel bad about this every time it happens!


Aaagghhh!!! What happened to my head!?


I'm salivating despite my wheat intolerance

There was an item in the kitchen that immediately caught my attention. There was a knife on the table, so before I looked around, I went straight for it and tried to pick it up. I was able to (15 points), and looking at it revealed that it was extremely sharp. I wasn’t certain where it would be useful, but I sure felt better having a weapon on me. I could find nothing to do with the counter, the sink, the cabinet, the microwaves, or the menus on the wall, but there was a button on the northern wall next to a door that looked promising. Pressing it revealed a pantry, which I entered and mapped accordingly. Within the pantry were drums of oil and shelves of food packages. When I looked at the oil I received the following: “The drums have MESSIN Brand Cooking Oil written on them. According to the date stamp on the top, this stuff will be good until January 3051. Amazing, these new preservatives.” The word “preservatives” triggered my memory! The note I’d found in the Research Laboratory had talked about how it was the preservatives in a cupcake that had killed a slime creature. Was the gelatinous creature I’d seen in the Mine such a slime creature? Should I collect some of this oil so as to use it as a weapon on the slime? I tried to take some, but wasn’t able to. I tried every way I could think of, including putting the cake in the oil, but kept getting messages such as “You don’t want it”. I’d been so confident about it, but had to let that idea go.


Why are they still using that shade of blue so long after CGA?


I'm not sure either of these are a good idea given the location!


Please let there be an ice-cream bar in here! How I love their oh so nutty chocolate coverings!

I did have some success in the pantry though! While the packages on the shelves contained nothing but plastic forks and napkins (that I couldn’t pick up), I was able to pick up one of the food cylinders there. Strangely, the only one I was able to pick up was an empty one, as I apparently didn’t have the right tool to open the others anyway (15 points). Looking at it revealed that it had an airtight screw-on lid, but was otherwise uninteresting. I made my way back to the Mess Hall and passed through the airlock on the eastern wall. I continued through two tunnels labelled KM3 and KM4 before hitting a tunnel that had no oxygen. My African bee and I died very quickly, and it made sense to me after looking at my map that I must have passed into the Living Quarters section (which I already knew had no oxygen). I restored my game again, and this time made my way back to the Lower Central Hub. My next choice for exploration was the north-eastern airlock, which would take me through to the Gymnasium. My trip there was uninhibited, meaning I quickly walked into the large room filled with gym equipment. There was a large wheel, a bench, a chin-up bar, a rack of dumb-bells, and some sort of frame. I checked everything out, but the only thing of interest I could find lay on the bench. There was an electromagnet there that someone had left behind, which I eagerly picked up (15 points). Looking at it revealed that it had a battery pack connected to it, and that the batteries were currently at 14%.


An empty one! I can only have an empty one!?


Memories of Leisure Suit Larry III come flooding back

The Gymnasium was done, so I made my way through the last airlock that held a safe environment behind it (the Living Quarters, Engine Room and Power Plant sections were still off-limits due to having no oxygen). Taking the south airlock brought me into the Cryogenics section, more specifically the Cryofreeze Area. There were a bunch of cryogenics units there, but I had no need for them so focussed on the door on the northern wall. Pressing the button next to it opened it, and I passed through into a small storage area. There I found some oxygen tanks, one of which had a valve I could use to top up my suit! I did so, and then read the plaque on the side of one of the other tanks: “Comments? [73766, 347]” What the hell did that mean? I knew I’d seen a number with a similar format before, and soon realised it was up on the radio tower on the surface. I looked back through my screenshots, eventually finding that the format of the number I’d seen on the panel there had been a little different (11166.1713). Hmmm...could it be that I would need to access some sort of comments system using the code? Perhaps they were coordinates? I really didn’t know what to make of it, so I had to move on. Luckily, I saved my game before continuing south out of the Cryogenics section. The airlock took me to the Emergency Exit, where I briefly saw a ladder leading up to the surface before my bee (and I) died.


Does this mean there were six inhabitants on Solus originally?


Hmmm...very cryptic!


Poor Eric! This must be like Groundhog Day.

I restored and made my way back to the Lower Central Hub. It was then that I realised I’d visited all the sections I could from both the Upper and Lower Central Hubs. There was nowhere else to go without decompressing poor Eric and losing all of my points. I figured the solution had to be one of three. 1. There was something I needed to do with Eric in one of the sections I could access, therefore removing him as a hindrance. 2. There was something I was supposed to do prior to picking up Eric, meaning I was now dead-ended. 3. There was a way to travel through the areas that had no oxygen with Eric still in my inventory. I looked at the inventory, and had a brilliant, yet totally obvious, idea! The cylinder had an airtight lid! I typed “put bee in cylinder” and fist-pumped when I received the following message: “You carefully move Eric from the jar to the food cylinder, and tightly close the lid.” I put on my helmet, and stepped through the northern airlock towards the Living Quarters. Eric didn’t die! This victory meant I was now able to check out five new sections that had been inaccessible to me previously, which was a huge relief. This post has gone on long enough though, so I’ll stop for now. I apologise if my posts for Earthrise are confusing or boring (or both!), but the initial exploration part of the game is going on far longer than it normally would. I assume once I’ve visited all the locations in the base I’ll be able to focus on figuring out what’s going on and how to pass certain obstacles.


I do? I do! Eureka!

Session Time: 1 hour 00 minutes
Total Time: 2 hours 30 minutes

Note Regarding Spoilers and Companion Assist Points: I've written a set of rules regarding spoilers and companion assist points. Please read it here before making any comments that could be considered a spoiler in any way. The short of it is that no points will be given for hints or spoilers given in advance of me requiring one. Please...try not to spoil any part of the game for me...unless I really obviously need the help...or I specifically request assistance. In this instance, I've not made any requests for assistance. Thanks!

85 comments:

  1. I tried inserting pics of my maps for both the lower and upper levels, but they didn't work out.

    I'll try again tomorrow.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I've had so much trouble displaying the maps for some reason. Images I capture blur when inserted, presumably due to me needing to zoom out so far in Excel before taking them. Uploading the file to Google drive works, but viewing it in the browser screws up the worksheets entirely. I'm likely going to need to post some more maps in Earthrise and other games, so would love to hear some suggestions for doing so effectively.

      Delete
    2. Do they become blurred only when you insert them? I found this tip on the Google product forums:
      Google Plus now integrate the Auto Enhance feature which automatically edit your uploaded pictures (adjust the brightness, saturation level...add filters). To disable this feature:
      Connect to your Google + account.
      Click on Home > Settings.
      Scroll to the "Auto Enhance" section.
      Uncheck "Automatically enhance new photos".

      Apparently the Google Plus settings are valid also for blogspot. If not, another tip was to try to upload the images into a secondary image host and just link them, which should preserve quality. I have not tried either though, so I won't vouch for them.

      Or do they become blurred when you save them as images?

      Delete
    3. Have you tried saving them using something like PDFCreator instead of taking screenshots? It can print to PNG.

      If excel mapping is giving you trouble there is always Grid Cartographer: http://www.davidwaltersdevelopment.com/tools/gridcart/ which seems a lot easier, to be honest.

      Delete
  2. Both Eric The Bee and I are relieved to see you realized what to do with the airtight cylinder in the same post where you found it. ;)

    And who eats only one piece of cake (especially when nobody is watching)?

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I was getting stressed out about Eric. Was thrilled to figure out the solution, although it still limits my movements substantially.

      Delete
    2. You should be stressed out, here's what happened to him. He ended up as Eric the Half-a-Bee: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MlrsqGal64w

      Delete
    3. Seriously, has anybody heard this song before? Is it a coincidence, or where does Monty Python come in to play in Earthrise?

      Delete
    4. I thought that the song was fairly well known. It was made in seventies, so makers of Earthrise probably just showed their appreciation of Monty Python.

      Delete
    5. What do you mean it still limits your movements substantially? In case you can only take a few steps before Eric dies in the containers (not sure that's actually tracked), here's a spoiler that should make exploration easier that I found since I had the same problem.

      Spoiler for the bee problem: Unir lbh gevrq chggvat gur orr onpx jurer lbh sbhaq uvz?

      Delete
  3. “Comments? [73766, 347]” What the hell did that mean?

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/CompuServe#User_IDs_and_e-mail_addresses

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Interesting. So that might have been the e-mail address of the publisher or the developer of the game?

      Delete
    2. Aha! It's strange that I don't recognise it given my age.I guess I never used the system.

      Thanks Rowan!

      Delete
    3. I first determined what these codes mean trying to understand a similarly baffling reference in a much more embarrassing game...

      http://www.mobygames.com/game/dos/softporn-ii/screenshots/gameShotId,325473/

      Ah, the life of a retro game historian!

      Delete
    4. A more-contemporary review (circulated on BBSes, perhaps but not necessarily originally from a magazine?) at http://textfiles.com/games/REVIEWS/earth.rev fingers the Compuserve connection also : "(You can even find Gruson's CompuServe ID number, if you look in the right place!)" ... who knows, that may have been how Microprose contacted him to work on Rex Nebular?

      Delete
  4. I don't know what DOSBox frontends you guys are using (or if you're just using vanilla DOSBox without a frontend), but I'm using D-Fend Reloaded and discovered something useful while setting up Future Wars as the next game out. Usually I just drop the archive file for the game into D-Fend and it sets everything up, but I was wondering if I had to install it manually since it's a bin/cue combo instead of an archive file.
    You probably know this already, but it turns out it's as easy as dropping the cue file into D-Fend and it mounts the bin and starts DOSBox ready for you to do the standard installation as if it's a CD you've loaded up. No hassle, works like a charm. It didn't autodetect which game I was installing, but that's easily chosen from the standard menu. Easy!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I've used both D-Fend and DBGL. Both are nice, but I get really annoyed at how long it takes for D-Fend to open depending on how many screenshots I've taken. Once I've taken hundreds, it can take minutes!

      Delete
    2. I used DBGL before, but had to switch when I scrubbed my home network for Java installations.

      Delete
    3. What version of D-Fend Reloaded is installed? It seems there was some changes to the thumbnail code for the screenshots in 1.3.4 onwards.

      Delete
    4. 1.3.3.

      I'll upgrade it and see if that helps.

      Thanks, as usual!

      Delete
  5. It's been seriously dead around here the past week or so. It really does seem everyone reads the blog while at work!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Hey! I put up a whole bunch of comments once I caught up!
      Though I did note that no one responded to any of them....

      Delete
    2. I was getting between 800 and 1000 views a day at the start of December and now I'm down as low as 400. I guess I'll just push ahead and hope everyone comes back to catch up eventually!

      Then again, it could just be the game I'm playing.

      Delete
    3. For me it's been a matter of being busy over the holidays. Now that I'm back at work as of today, you should see an increase of about 50-100 views per day just due to my F5'ing. :p

      Delete
    4. For me, there's so much time to spend with my daughter, so there's no time to left for playing with computer. But ironically, even during the Christmas 2012 you were commenting that it's "pretty quiet on the blog, and I assume that's because you're all off spending time with your families". I might bet that there will be a slump during the next Xmas also.

      Then again, a year ago you were playing Emmanuelle, so perhaps you've just had bad luck with the games for the holidays.

      Delete
    5. I spent the holiday with my family as well; However, I spent it lying on one couch while my brother lay on the other and we discussed Steam sales, the games we were playing (FFVII, Animal Crossing, Fire Emblem, Zelda: A Link Between Worlds, LoL, Team Fortress 2)

      Oh and my Dad was really happy to find GoG gives away Beneath a Steel Sky as he could never get it to run on our 386.

      Delete
    6. In my case I am still enjoying an extended holiday with the family. I'm also setting up a couple new projects for the new year, everything in the real world. Not much time for virtual ones I'm afraid, I admit I haven't been following the few last entries...!

      Delete
  6. Caption contest entry:
    Bow chika wow wow

    Bonus theme music: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=SbBi2j_HLTc

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. And, in the same vein...

      "Strange, I usually only feel vertical movement while I'm horizontal."

      Delete
    2. A different kind of vertical movement:

      "Wait, this isn't the toilet!"

      Delete
    3. And the final piece of bodily functions:

      "The cake certainly tasted better when it moved to the opposite direction."

      Delete
  7. don't you mean "Bee-Compression"? :)

    ReplyDelete
  8. The Legend of Kyrandia series is 70% off on GOG at the moment

    http://www.gog.com/news/the_legend_of_kyrandia_series_up_to_70_off

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Cool. I'm not sure if I'd like these games but I'm sensing a "What the hell" feeling coming on, so I think I'll buy them anyway.

      Delete
    2. They're good games, I highly recommend them.

      Delete
    3. Done!

      I can now add another 3 to the ridiculously large number of games I own but haven't played yet

      Delete
    4. We're being tricked by the low-low prices. I've got 279 games connected on my Steam account right now, and it registered me last playing a Steam game March 17........2011. And yet I still keep adding to it. *cry*
      My GoG account sees a bit more action though, due to the occasional available old adventure game playing with Trickster.

      Delete
  9. Bu zna, nz V gur bayl bar jub abgvprq gung obgu gur pnxr naq gur bvy unir cerfreingvirf, ohg gung ur bayl abgvprq vg jura ur ybbxrq ng gur bvy? Ur nyernql UNF na vgrz jvgu cerfreingvirf, ur whfg arrqf gb ernyvmr vg! Be nz V ba gur jebat genpx.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Good catch, I think you're right. I didn't notice due to the purzvpny anzr sbe gur cerfreingvir hfrq orvat haxabja gb zr.

      Delete
    2. V guvax vg vf znqr hc, be ng yrnfg, V'ir arire urneq bs vg, ohg ur zragvbarq va gur pbzzragf gung vg vf fgvyy tbbq qhr gb gur cerfreingvir va vg.

      Delete
    3. Nope, it's real (checked it out). Ohglyngrq ulqebklnavfbyr, na nagvbkvqnag nyfb hfrq nf n cerfreingvir.

      Delete
    4. Pbby. Ubj zhpu lbh jnag gb org Gevpxfgre guvaxf V'z whfg fperjvat nebhaq va ebg guvegrra gb oht uvz ntnva?

      Delete
    5. I doubt he'd be able to do anything about it since he basically barred himself from deciphering all these AFTER he finished the game. Naljnl, V guvax ur'f tbaan xvpx uvzfrys rira zber jura fbzrbar jub qbrf abg rira cynl nqiragher tnzrf fcbggrq guvf zhpu rneyvre guna ur qvq. Zhnununun!

      Delete
    6. And since we're talking about stuff he missed, jr pna fgneg gnyxvat nobhg nyy xvaqf bs bgure aba-tnzr eryngrq fghss abj va pvcuref gb xrrc uvz thrffvat. KQ

      V'yy org whfg glcvat abafrafvpny frevrf bs ahzoref frcnengrq ol n fvathyne qrpvzny cbvag vf tbvat gb znxr uvz pevatr naq jbaqre jurer ur zvffrq gurz va gur tnzr. =C

      66523.1125
      1253.965
      288976.245

      Gura, gb ernyyl znxr Gevk fuvg uvf cnagf, n svany erznex yrsg haqrpvcurerq gb trg uvz ovgvat uvf anvyf...

      Seriously! How could he miss THOSE!?!

      Delete
    7. Are you guys messing with me? Cause if you are...it's working!

      Delete
    8. Lbh ner n onq, onq crefba, lbh xabj gung? Seriously.

      Delete
    9. Jul qvq ur one uvzfrys sebz ernqvat gurz nsgre ur svavfurq ntnva? V gubhtug gung jnf bar bs gur sha cnegf sbe uvz? Fcbvyref sbe shgher tnzrf? Jr pbhyq cnff n ehyr gung lbh unir gb znex nyy fcbvyref sbe tnzrf bgure gura gur pheerag bar fb gung ur pna ernq gur erfg bs gurz. n

      Delete
    10. Oh come on, that would be a disaster! All that work for nothing. Jnvg, qvq ur one uvzfrys sebz ernqvat gur rapbqrq pbzzragf nsgre gur tnzr vf qbar? Jura qvq guvf unccra?

      Delete
    11. V unir ab vqrn ubj gb nafjre Gevpxfgre'f dhrfgvba, qbrf nalbar ryfr?
      V qb erpnyy frrvat fbzrguvat nobhg uvz trggvat fcbvyrq sbe BGURE tnzrf jura ernqvat gur pbzzragf, guhf zl vqrn gung jr pbhyq znex jung tnzr gur fcbvyre vf sbe.

      Trickster, we need you to clarify something: Do you still read all the encoded comments after the game is done?

      Delete
    12. Anu, V whfg svtherq V'q cergraq abg gb frr vg fvapr V qba'g jnag gb yvr gb uvf snpr.

      Delete
    13. When I figure out the CAP distribution, I decipher all the ROT13 stuff. Did I miss something important?

      I still don't read anything in ROT13 until I finish a game.

      Delete
    14. We were just worried that you wouldn't ever get to read our discussions about your glaringly obvious mistakes during your playthrough. ;)

      Delete
    15. Getting back to your original question Canageek, having played the game, I can confirm you are right in your hunch. But what is juicier is benatr whvpr. Naq bs pbhefr, znatb whvpr. Naq lnz lnz lnz lnz, nccyr whvpr! Ohg qrsvavgryl DO NOT TOUCH gbzngb whvpr, orpnhfr gung vf fgenvtug sebz the Devil.

      Delete
    16. Oh come on!!! This is torturous! I'm only 67.3% certain that you guys are just having me on.

      Must...not...decipher...must...not...decipher...

      Delete
    17. Better stay away Trickster, I can with 100% certainty say that you will get spoilers for the game by reading these comments before you're done. Not to mention fcbvyvat Vyznev'f HATED gbzngb whvpr, juvpu must ONLY ever be used for oybbql znel'f. Otherwise apparently death will swiftly follow.

      Delete
    18. Yep, while we may (or may not) be teasing you now, you should NOT under any circumstances read what is above before the end of the game. I mean you'd find out that tencr whvpr vf sne orggre gura nal bs gur whvprf gung gurfr pergvaf zragvbarq nobir. Nyfb, unir nal bs lbh urneq bs n Oybbql Pnrfne? V'ir arire unq bar, ohg V urne gurl ner dhvgr tbbq.

      Delete
    19. 67% messing with you is about right, but it's steadily increasing. ;) I'm going to help with that percentage.

      pnxr jnf cebonoyl pbbxrq jvgu gur bvy. Ur fubhyq svther vg bhg jura ur ernpurf gur fyvzr perngher.

      Ur znqr zragvba, "Vs V’q tbar guebhtu zl fperrafubgf V jbhyq unir sbhaq gur nafjre, ohg jr’yy unir gb pbzr onpx gb guvf yngre," ohg qvqa'g trg gb vg va guvf cbfg. Ubcrshyyl ur svtherq bhg ubj gb oevat hc gur OVBZRQ qngnonfr fb ur xabjf ubj gb unaqyr nyy gur nyvraf.

      Fgenatryl V ubcr vg gnxrf uvz nf ybat nf vg qvq zr gb svther bhg ubj gb qrny jvgu gur tneqra fcvqre naq gur oybo va gur zvar. Bu, naq nyfb gur frphevgl ebbz jurer V unq gb ybbx ng n jnyxguebhtu sbe gur nafjre.

      Also, V whfg abgrq gurer'f nabgure cbfg. Bss gb ernq gung abj!

      Delete
    20. Unun. Lrnu, V jnf jbaqrevat vs lbh jrer tbvat gb abgvpr gung. Jr'ir nyernql fgnegrq n f rdhny gb guvf qvfphffvba gurer.

      Delete
    21. The truth is that I knew you were all messing with me as soon as Kenny got involved. He seems to have one, albeit important, purpose in life. ;)

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    22. To be fair, everything we posted BEFORE Kenny got involved was actual game discussion. I was involved in actual ROT13ed game discussion! ME! Aren't you surprised?

      Delete
    23. Oh... right... blame the guy who dies every time. I only posted twice in this whole slew of maniacal mindf*cks. So... totally innocent here. Like I said, accomplice-by-association.

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    24. Kenny, in this case you're the kid that comes into a party, spikes the punch bowl, does an upper decker in the bathroom, lets the dogs out, blows the fuses and then leans back and sees the mayhem escalate. And when the cops shows up because everybody's drunk off their tits, the furniture is ruined and the dogs are multiplying in the neighbors' back yard, you're totally sober and haven't been involved in a thing.

      But not this time! This time, there's EVIDENCE! Oh yes, the nanny cam of Tricksters blog has caught it all, the delicious, delicious bits and bytes hanging out for all to see and gawk at. No running away for you!

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    25. You just described the plot of an episode from Ferris Bueller and/or Saved By the Bell.

      Delete
  10. Here's another kickstarter project, a FMV detective game: http://www.kickstarter.com/projects/139513174/contradiction/

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    Replies
    1. Is there a reason why he and the interviewers are acting as though live-action FMV adventure games are something new and never done before?

      I'd have backed it except that:
      1) I have no idea who Tim Follins is and how much trust I can give him with my monies.
      2) Ignoring the existence of previous hits usually dooms them to become future misses.
      3) The lead is a white, fat and balding detective who looks more like Tony Soprano?

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    2. Wait, wait. FMV? Didn't we decide that was a bad idea and replace it with motion capture?

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    3. No, we decided it's one of the hardest genres to get right. Combined with being one of the genres it's easiest to do (put your friends and their moms in front of a camera), it got a very bad rep very quickly. But it can be done really well, such as in the Tex Murphy games.

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    4. I wonder which is cheaper to do well, FMV or motion-capture? Props or fancy cameras, software and art assets?

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    5. Considering you can make a game as small as you want and it can still be a good game (think indie games), I'd say they can be equally cheap. It all depends on scope.

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    6. Not at all; You forget fixed costs. Motion capture needs some very expensive cameras, but you can greenscreen everything else, and a hell of a lot of animation time. Then there is the cost of buying all the props,studio time and more actor time. PLUS you are a lot more limited in what you can show.

      Basically, take the same game, make it in both and compare costs I don't think they'd come out that differently. Filming stuff to usable quality (As opposed to student film project quality) is expensive as heck; There is a reason reality TV shows can have celebrities on them all the time, give out huge prizes and still cost a fraction of a TV drama. I really don't think FMV is a good idea, as it is never going to look as seamless as doing everything in the same engine, and frankly, we are at the point where I've mistaken game characters for real people.

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    7. Nah, I can do motion capture at home right now with what I already got. Connect my Kinect to a computer, install some freeware, Bam! Motion capture. And props and studio time all depends on the scope and direction of what you're making. Maybe you don't need either, depending on what kind of game you're making and the setting.

      Then it comes down to a question of the cost of actors vs artists. That's why I said I'd assume they would be around equal.

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    8. Sure, if you want to make some really bad games. I'm talking about actually having facial expressions show up, which last I heard still took studio quality equipment. I mean, comeon, the kinetic barely functions for playing games, let alone for making games.

      You still haven't addressed the problem of how you incorporate FMV footage into a game without it sticking out like a sore thumb.

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    9. You never mentioned facial tracking, just motion capture. I was talking about plain movement capture with 3D models transposed on top, or mapped to 2D animated sprites of some sort.

      And there's plenty of ways you can incorporate FMV footage into games and they can still be awesome. You can do FMV cut scenes, like in Red Alert. You can green screen the actors with mostly static backgrounds, like Rama. You can do 3d exploration with close up FMV transposed for conversations, like Under a KIlling Moon. You can do interactive 360 photo shots of locations where puzzles are with FMV transitions between them, like that game I played some years ago and can't remember the title of. Or you can border up to interactive movies with full FMV. I'm not saying all of these are easy to make a great game out of, but there are examples of it being done with all of them.

      Let your imagination flow, young Canawan.

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    10. Wow, you and I have very different definitions of good ideas. Most of that stuff I look at and wince at how bad an idea it is, as it doesn't look seamless, so why not just rotoscope it? Or reanimate it like Fallout New Vegas did? It will ruin immersion less.

      What type of motion capture are you doing that doesn't need facial tracking? Most of the other stuff you can animate decently well withouot motion capture, unless you are doing stunts like The Last Of Us or Splinter Cell (Which does its mocap at CBC Toronto), which you definitely need a studio for.

      Delete
    11. Wait, what part of Fallout New Vegas was "reanimated"?

      I'm all for conventional FMV if done right btw.

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    12. I'm not talking Avatar quality stuff here, but if you feel games like Red Alert or Rama are horrible because of their artistic choices, then I guess we do have very different ideas of what makes a good game yes, and different standards of what makes a game enjoyable. Sure, rotoscoping would work, but it wouldn't have the same artistic expression that they wanted. And for me, I far preferred Red Alerts live action cut scenes to General's game engine scenes.

      Different strokes for different folks I guess.

      Without facial recognition you can do all motion tracking that's body based. Which means the same level of motion tracking they've used up until recently, when we also got facial expression scanning. So all stunts, movement fluidity, natural walks etc.

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    13. Well this bit here is definitely re-animated!

      http://static2.nexusmods.com/15/mods/130/images/42020-2-1306497323.jpg

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    14. (Stupid blogger threads!)

      @Trickster: Tee-hee!
      Is that a mod or something? Don't remember the game looking this awful.

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    15. Charles: They rebuilt a lot of real-world locations and modelled them in-engine.

      I've never played Red Alert or Rama. I'm basing this of watching YouTube vids of Gabriel Knight and similar games. The actor doesn't fit with the scene around them, though I bet that could be done a lot better today, and there is an obvious quality diffidence. PLUS you have to go for a realistic art style, or things just look bizarre, so you can't do cool stuff like say, Grim Fandango. Then you have the problem of everything else looks worse next to your photography, since that will be photorealisitic, while nothing else will be.

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    16. Canageek: so they were not reanimated per se, just modeled?

      Interestingly, F:NV or any of the other Bethesda games are actually good examples of technology's diminishing returns (which was of course one of the main criticisms against FMV itself when it was first introduced). I've always felt Bethesda's worlds were beautiful plastic landscapes filled with weird animatronics with great voice synthesis modules.

      By contrast, the Myst games were mostly 2D affairs with FMV actors, but the overall result was amazing. And though they weren't many NPCs around, you never got the sense you were talking to puppets. That works for me.

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    17. If my timeline is correct, Karateka was the first game to have MoCap, amirite?

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    18. Charles: I'm not sure how they were made, I suspect there was a fair bit of the modern equivalent of rotoscoping, but yeah, they recreated them all in-engine. That way they fit perfectly with the made-up locations, but still looked very similar to the originals.

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  11. "You can do interactive 360 photo shots of locations where puzzles are with FMV transitions between them, like that game I played some years ago and can't remember the title of."
    Sounds like the Journeyman games. Those were pretty amazing at the time, I thought. The third one is still one of my favorite adventure games ever.

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  12. Woooo! I made it to 2014!! Only...*rapidly flips through calendar*...two and a half more years to go until I catch up to real-time.

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