Primordia > General Discussions > Topic Details
kyokodeathgod Jul 16, 2013 @ 7:01am
Best Adventure Game I've Played Buy It Now
And I've played all the King's Quests, first few Police Quests, Hero's Quest, Space Quest, Sam and Max, all the Indiana Jones games (yep I grew up in the 90's...:) you name a Quest I've done it. My favourite is actually Zak McKrakken and the Alien Mindbenders =D

None of the new adventure games have really caught my imagination. Not until Primordia. Best setting and story I've played through, way too short in my opinion. Absolutely loved the atmosphere and characters, it almost felt like I was playing through an Iain M Banks novel. (RIP, May he fly eternally through the endless void in some kind of sentient supercraft).

That's where I felt like it fell down a bit, the time taken - about 10 hours on my clock, and it felt like it could have gone on for at least twice as long, and twice as climax-y. I felt like it was gearing up to a bit of a longer adventure, would love a grandiose space opera to play through. And I have to say I loved the voices, especially Horatio, and oh look, what a surprise, Logan "I can make a man wet" Cunningham voiced him. ♥♥♥♥ Yeah. Congratulations, Wormwood - NOW MAKE MOAR! And more with these characters - one of the things that has made it hard for me to get into these new breed of adventure games is the often (in my opinion) incredibly cheesy voiceovers and story. Please, please, please, please, Wormwood, do more of this.

(Or make some sort of game in the Culture, I would die. Excession, anyone? :)
Showing 1-14 of 14 comments
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Mark Yohalem Jul 16, 2013 @ 8:23am 
As a fellow Zak McKracken fan, this is especially well-received! :) What nice things to say! (And a comparison to Banks, while perhaps overly generous, is awesome. What a terrible loss, especially with Jack Vance dying the same year.) I'm not sure if you've read, but one of the projects one our to-do list is a space opera! In terms of more Primordia, there's Fallen, which is a graphic novella. Thanks again!
Arator Jul 16, 2013 @ 10:11am 
I have played the games you've mentioned too, and i would like to add the Monkey Island series. Don't get me wrong, i really really love Primordia, but to be honest when i have to compare it to a game like Monkey Island or Indiana Jones and the Fate of Atlantis it just can't win. One of the biggest arguments is the length of the game. There is no way of adding complex long term quests in a game when it is relatively short. But for me Primordia is pretty close to these games and i think that's an achievement too.

I would love to see a Primordia 2 too, but as Mark mentioned already the story of Horatio is basically done. A new Primordia with him and Crispin wouldn't feel right. But after reading "Fallen" i really could imagine a sequel. What about playing a robot that was sent down to earth by the humans from the orbit to find "Thanatos". So your final goal would be to find Horatio and see what has happened to him, maybe with some nice story twists but your character knows obviously nothing about his background story. You could explore the whole world again from a different point of view and the player would know things that his character doesn't. A common feature in games and movies that i like.

Also you could consider a Kickstarter campaign, easy way to see if there are enough potential customers out there.
Mark Yohalem Jul 16, 2013 @ 6:10pm 
I agree with Arator: while I've got a paternal fondness for Primordia, at the end of the day I don't think it's as good as the golden age Lucas games and the best Sierra stuff. Length is part of it, but I think Lucas just had really good (and really experienced) puzzle designers, while I was sort of muddling my way through it. And, of course, the game is much shorter. I hope our next game pushes to a higher standard. We probably will not do a Primordia sequel -- even an indirect sequel like the one you suggest. I think we can grow more in a fresh setting.
xlynx Jul 17, 2013 @ 12:34am 
If not as good, then in the same ballpark, and that's no small achievement. I'm curious of what you might do differently next time, in terms of streamlining the development process, team size, long distance collaboration, things like that. Would you have more distinct phases of design and implementation? Would you be looking at new tools to open it up to a larger audience?
kyokodeathgod Jul 17, 2013 @ 1:45am 
ZAKK MCKRAKEN! HIGH FIVE! :) Honestly I've just found it quite hard to get back into the more recent adventure games, and the length of time since I've found one that I actually wanted to keep playing has probably given me rose coloured glasses. I've played Machinarium, Gemini Rue, some time travelling one whose name escapes me and other randoms... none of them have really gripped me to continue playing, although I may go back to Gemini Rue after this.

The atmosphere, setting and characters was what sold it to me in the end. And I think sarcastic, slightly homicidal robots remind me of Banks. (Crispin = Cute Skaffin Amtiskaw...) I really felt incredibly attached to Crispin and Horatio, and it saddens me greatly to not see them return... But I respect that you feel like you have told his story, and I guess it's better to want more than to have your dreams fulfilled and be disappointed... ;) I do think that there could be more told, it would be great to see Horatio exploring more of his capabilities... and I really loved the banter between Horatio and Crispin, no matter what others say, I find 95% of other voiced adventure game characters insufferable. I thought the voice acting in this was excellent. Absolutely loved the graphic style and setting.

The biggest issue for me was length - I was REALLY getting into the story, and it almost felt as if the story had just reached the midpoint of the book and the final cutscenes roll and it ties up the ending (which I did love), but I disagree about the puzzles, I really liked the puzzles in this, especially the main gate one where you finally have to put the pieces together... I found the puzzles to be challenging enough and LOGICAL, which is something which I found to be an issue in some of those golden age games, as well as being very suited to the setting.

It isn't perfect by any means, but it is very, very special.

Oh. And, SPACE OPERA!!!!!!!!!!! Now I'm definitely on the edge of my seat.... It must be at least... THREE TIMES AS BIG. And make sure Logan's in it... ;)

Everyone, buy an Iain M Banks book... :) Recommend - "Use of Weapons" and "Excession"... They are also the two books this somewhat reminds me of.
Mark Yohalem Jul 17, 2013 @ 9:04pm 
"I'm curious of what you might do differently next time, in terms of streamlining the development process, team size, long distance collaboration, things like that. Would you have more distinct phases of design and implementation? Would you be looking at new tools to open it up to a larger audience?"

For any adventure game we make, there's going to be a strong presumption that the core team should be Vic (art), James (coding), and me (story). Vic is in Australia, James is in Greece, and I'm in the U.S.; there's no real likelihood of any of us moving, so ultimately long-distance collaboration is more or less unavoidable. That said, I think the development process would've been improved by us all being in the same geographic area, though it might've resulted in some fisticuffs.

Because James is likely to be the coder on any adventure game, and because his specialty is AGS, I think it's likely we'd be using that for any development. That, of course, means no easy way to significantly expand the audience. I'd like to look into other options, but the presumption would probably be for AGS.

Dividing the process into design and implementation would probably be a good idea. (With Primordia, the design seldom stayed very far ahead of the implementation.) More importantly, I think, we'd try to have a clear development roadmap, even if the design were in flux (which it hopefully wouldn't be). In other words, start with a stronger sense of how many rooms, when we'd shoot to hit certain milestones, things like that. With Primordia, there was a lot of snowballing, a lot of "fractal development" (where we just kept adding more and more detail to the same area without advancing much), and then at the end, a lot of corner-cutting. It would be better to avoid all of that.

At the same time, part of the fun of developing independent games as a hobby, rather than as a livelihood, is not having to run it like a business. In Primordia's case, I think we were too loosey-goosey and it led to more headaches than fun diversions, but I wouldn't want to try to have -- and it would frankly be impossible to have -- the same level of development rigor that a well-managed AAA project has. (Obviously, poorly managed AAA projects are another story.)

It might be nice to involve something like beta testers at an earlier phase of the design. Which is to say, have outside people weigh in on the concepts and framework at a time when it's still viable to change them. Finding the right people to do that would be tricky, and none of us want to have a game that's designed by focus-group testing, but it might be something we'd look into. We've were really pleased at the level of engagement that testers had with Primordia, and we're similarly delighted with how the fans have dug into the game, so I don't have any doubts that we ultimately can find good people.

Re: Zak M. -- It's funny, I can't ride an airplane without thinking of the insane puzzle where you had to open all the overhead bins and flood the toilet so that you could steal a floating device from under your chair (or something along those lines).
xlynx Jul 17, 2013 @ 10:21pm 
I've just discovered me and Vic live in the same city. Brings Primordia closer to home!

I think the flexibility of indie development is also one of its greatest strengths. The ability to implement awesome ideas as they come to you; those are the kind of changes that are fun to do and give more payoff than adding endless detail. As long as there's some bounds around it to keep everything sane.

As for focus-group testing, I hope this doesn't sound arrogant, but I really think listening to too much feedback can be a bad thing. The developer is the one with the talent pool and artistic vision, and I honestly don't think users always know what they want. They mainly know what they've liked in the past, and if you're doing something original, they're not going to truely understand it until the end product is in their own hands. I think you should consider user feedback, but your own vision should always take precedent. When I beta test, I do try to keep this in mind and separate any suggestions from the actual issue they're trying to solve.
Mark Yohalem Jul 18, 2013 @ 6:42am 
That's generally right -- re focus-groups -- but I still think some things, like the pacing of the last part of Primordia, could have been improved by earlier feedback.
Arator Jul 18, 2013 @ 2:01pm 
Originally posted by Mark Yohalem:
That's generally right -- re focus-groups -- but I still think some things, like the pacing of the last part of Primordia, could have been improved by earlier feedback.

What about the alpha selling model ? Many games are successful with it these days and you would get instant feedback. Oh and instant money ;). If you really would prefer to have a hand picked tester group, how would you find the right persons to improve the game for a large target audience?
Mark Yohalem Jul 18, 2013 @ 8:59pm 
While I like the idea of involving fans early on, I am less wild about the idea of selling people an unfinished product and then expecting them to help me finish it. It's a little different with Kickstarter, but the whole alpha-selling thing offends my since that a seller has certain obligations to a buyer, primarily to give the customer the very best product possible.

Alpha testing is also probably not a perfect fit for adventure games because there's considerable lock-in as you go along, so by the time you have even an alpha of the game, it may be hard to change direction much.

And, I'm not especially concerned about appealing to a large-target audience. More, I want people who enjoyed Primordia and were engaged by it to have a subsequent game that they enjoy even more. I would of course also love to appeal to more people, but not at the expense of compromising our core values or turning our backs on the people who have given us so much support.

[EDIT: I hope that didn't sound hostile to your idea! You've effectively helped crowd-source my brainstorming about crowd-sourcing my brainstorming. :)]
Last edited by Mark Yohalem; Jul 18, 2013 @ 9:00pm
omgiafs Jul 19, 2013 @ 12:13am 
Agreed. Just big surprize from game industry of our days.
Arator Jul 19, 2013 @ 7:07am 
After reading your edit i had to read your text once again to look for something that could have offended me, but i couldn't even find the slightest bit so i guess you didn't sound hostile :). I actually forgot to consider that selling an adventure game in the alpha state is a bad idea. A FPS,RTS or a Sandbox game can be released early on because they are gameplay driven and you can have fun with the basic features. An adventure tells a story and gives the player the illusion that he is the protagonist in it. You can't do that in little parts. You would spoil way too much of the game with the first released area artworks and stuff like that. Not many people would enjoy that.

About the larger audience, i like that you want to stick with your core fans, but your core fans want you to earn money. Many games had to give up great features to reach a larger crowd, for example the new X-Com or Bioshock Infinite. Both great games, but if you have played the first X-Com or System Shock 2 you'll miss the difficulty and the complexity.

That is why i like the idea of Kickstarter, of course you basically sell air to your customers, but im not buying a product when i support a company through kickstarter. i donate money to a great idea or people that i like and hope to get a great game back but i don't demand it.i bought Natural Selection 2 pre-alpha because i wanted to give these awesome guys at UWE my money to thank them for making great games. I really think that we don't need publishers anymore, they did more damage than good to the gaming industry. So many games got released unfinished because the publishers forced it. So many got mainstreamed for a few more sells. Kickstarter or similar sites allow you to think of the best game you could come up with and to let your fans decide if they want it.

Chris Roberts, the head behind Star Citizen made a pretty nice video about that whole matter in which he compares the revenue of a classic publishing model and the kickstarter model. in the classic model the developers gets around 20% of the selling price, while the kickstarter model earns them around 80%. The customers want to give the developer the money for a great game, not to someone like EA and Ubisoft. Just my two cents, im sure you have your reasons why you want to stick to your way of making and selling games, but i see so many small and new companys beeing very successful with kickstarter and i would like to see you there too.


Mark Yohalem Jul 19, 2013 @ 8:45am 
Oh, I just didn't want to seem like I was dismissing your suggestions without giving them real consideration. I'm just terrible at gauging tone in writing. (Perhaps this led to Crispin being a "tonal wrecking ball" in the words of one reviewer!)

I haven't played either XCOM or the new Bioshock, but I know both were really well received. I agree that if it's possible to conserve the core philosophy while making it more accessible, that's probably a good thing. That said, if you watch the developer video for the remake of Flashback (it was just posted on Rock Paper Shotgun), the developers say they're doing exactly that -- but the remake appears to capture NONE of the spirit of the original. So I think it's very hard to do it right. (Chrono Cross would be another decent example of that phenomenon.)

Anyway, whatever next steps we do, we'll make sure to involve all you guys in the process!
rullu Jul 23, 2013 @ 3:41am 
I love this game so much , the trailer has just fascinated me and so i decided to buy it. More of that haha please :3
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