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  #31  
Old 06-17-2019, 09:45 AM
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Old 06-17-2019, 10:41 AM
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Jesus fucking Christ dude do you ever take a day off?
Often. I come out of the woodwork to criticise things that used to be good but aren't any more. If this was upsetting to you, you should see some of the things I've written about game of thrones
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Old 06-17-2019, 03:20 PM
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I perceive the over-the-top lights and action to be an allegory for current society, full of technology and stimulation. I assume that will be juxtaposed with the other environments, such as Paramonia, to illustrate just how extreme the difference is.
Regarding action and animations being too fast-paced and 'spastic'. The one thing that I have always loved in the original Oddworld games was their 'fantasy-realism' which was to a large extent achieved by smooth, extremely well-timed in-game animations. In the New and Tasty they sped up the animations for some reason and while the models themselves were good the effect was lost. Same here; at least at the current stage of developement. I hope this will be addressed. They are going for grimdark atmosphere after all and goofy animations don't really help. At least this is how I see it.

Regarding the over-saturated visuals, I specifically point out the elements which are intended for the player only, i. e. not the neon advertisements but the neon tubes that connect the levers, the lights at the ledges, levers, trapdoors etc. They stand out too much and break the fourth wall in a bad sence, i. e. make it harder to suspend disbelief. The original games had signs that were only intended to help the player, too, but they were fitted the environment far better and stood out much less.

For example, take the trapdoors from N'n'T. They had those blinking lights on them. From my point of view these serve no good purpose at all. They neither really help the player nor add up to the atmosphere. Same goes for the levers and grinders. Stylistically these lights look too 'hich-tech' and out of place. While Oddworld facilities do have high-tech stuff among the more crude-looking machinery but in the established style these elements also usually look kind of run-down or the use of such devices is limited. Speaking from the in-universe perspective, some Glukkons may have a thing for decoration but I highly doubt they'll bother placing all those expensive LED lamps and electricity-consuming neon tubes to mark ledges, levers etc. Simple cheap paint would've done a much better job. Especially in a purely industrial area such as Rupture Farms. It's also good enaugh to help the player recognize climable or non-climable ledges, etc.

Another example I've mentioned are those lines of neon tubes which are indended to help the player to understand which lever activates what. If you want to have alot of neon in the environment for the purpose of storytelling it can be done in much more immersive ways. The neon ads at the passenger terminals make sence. And you could also make appropriately designed guidance light strips composed of those neon tubes that lead the passengers from one terminal to another or to a hub. But these lines we see here do not seem to have any other purpose but to 'connect the dots' for the player. This causes them to stand out so much. They could've been easily replaced with wires which would have served the same role but without standing out of the environment too much. This worked perfectly fine in Exoddus after all.

I'm pretty confident that Lorne will deliver a perfect story but since they're going for the gimdark style the visuals are very important. This kind of setting really relies on immersion and suspension of disbelief. So there has to be as few of those elmenets that remind you that you're playing a game as possible. And they have to be as natural to the environment as possible.

P. S. I hope the devs will provide us with a level editor
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Old 06-17-2019, 03:59 PM
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Jesus fucking Christ dude do you ever take a day off?
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Old 06-17-2019, 10:31 PM
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Regarding action and animations being too fast-paced and 'spastic'. The one thing that I have always loved in the original Oddworld games was their 'fantasy-realism' which was to a large extent achieved by smooth, extremely well-timed in-game animations. In the New and Tasty they sped up the animations for some reason and while the models themselves were good the effect was lost. Same here; at least at the current stage of developement. I hope this will be addressed. They are going for grimdark atmosphere after all and goofy animations don't really help. At least this is how I see it.

Regarding the over-saturated visuals, I specifically point out the elements which are intended for the player only, i. e. not the neon advertisements but the neon tubes that connect the levers, the lights at the ledges, levers, trapdoors etc. They stand out too much and break the fourth wall in a bad sence, i. e. make it harder to suspend disbelief. The original games had signs that were only intended to help the player, too, but they were fitted the environment far better and stood out much less.

For example, take the trapdoors from N'n'T. They had those blinking lights on them. From my point of view these serve no good purpose at all. They neither really help the player nor add up to the atmosphere. Same goes for the levers and grinders. Stylistically these lights look too 'hich-tech' and out of place. While Oddworld facilities do have high-tech stuff among the more crude-looking machinery but in the established style these elements also usually look kind of run-down or the use of such devices is limited. Speaking from the in-universe perspective, some Glukkons may have a thing for decoration but I highly doubt they'll bother placing all those expensive LED lamps and electricity-consuming neon tubes to mark ledges, levers etc. Simple cheap paint would've done a much better job. Especially in a purely industrial area such as Rupture Farms. It's also good enaugh to help the player recognize climable or non-climable ledges, etc.

Another example I've mentioned are those lines of neon tubes which are indended to help the player to understand which lever activates what. If you want to have alot of neon in the environment for the purpose of storytelling it can be done in much more immersive ways. The neon ads at the passenger terminals make sence. And you could also make appropriately designed guidance light strips composed of those neon tubes that lead the passengers from one terminal to another or to a hub. But these lines we see here do not seem to have any other purpose but to 'connect the dots' for the player. This causes them to stand out so much. They could've been easily replaced with wires which would have served the same role but without standing out of the environment too much. This worked perfectly fine in Exoddus after all.

I'm pretty confident that Lorne will deliver a perfect story but since they're going for the gimdark style the visuals are very important. This kind of setting really relies on immersion and suspension of disbelief. So there has to be as few of those elmenets that remind you that you're playing a game as possible. And they have to be as natural to the environment as possible.

P. S. I hope the devs will provide us with a level editor
You can't take 15 minutes of gameplay in one area and then fret that it's indicative of the entire game's aesthetic.
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  #36  
Old 06-18-2019, 12:09 AM
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Christ STM, he pointed out why the bits that we have seen look bad, not that the whole game does, but if this gameplay is anything to go by, I wouldn't blame anyone for fretting.

He even said he's confident that Lorne will deliver a "perfect story", which is giving him far more credit than anyone should, but no, that isn't good enough.

Yeah, let's wait until the game is out to criticise it, you know, so the developers don't have any chance to fix it? Solid plan.
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Old 06-18-2019, 02:17 AM
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STM, no need to be white-knighting here. If I didn't care about Oddworld I wouldn't have even bothered to recall the password to my account here, let alone write any long-winded posts. Nepsotic is right -- it's better to voice your concerns early on while it's still possible to make corrections without too much effort. And it's not only those 15 minutes that lead me to the assumptions I've voiced above but also the on-going flaws of the previous game (N'n'T). Some issues may be due to placeholders from N'n'T being used. So there's hope that they are going to be corrected later on. I don't really rely on my opinion being taken into account but since OWI staff seemingly visit these forums I decided to post. Maybe it will come out useful. This is only my humble opinion, of course. But then again, that's what the forums is for - for sharing opinions (and not only praise and worship; no criticism - no progress).

Regarding why I care and nitpick so much. There are few games, let alone platformers, that manage to let you suspend disbelief, take them seriously and live the story. Oddworld hit the nail on the head, which was pretty unique. It wasn't just a platformer where at any given point in time you were fully aware that you're playing a computer game. The latter may be fun but it's not what I expect from and Oddworld game, especially regarding the high goals stated by OWI themselves.

Also, achieving the aforementioned effect does not mean 'carbon-copying' Abe's Oddysee and "getting that shade of green just right" as Nate has put it in another topic. I would've been totally fine with OWI ditching the platforming gameplay altogether as long as they found it necessary to get the story across. And it's not about making each and every level look like Rupture Farms either. There's just a fine difference between a mediocre work and a masterpiece. The former may very well be enjoyable and the latter may not be really perfect, it's overall consistency that plays the key role. It's attention to detail but not as in literally putting as many small details in the environment as possible but rather as in carefully choosing and combining thereof. Keeping those help elements that remind you that you're playing a game as few and as implicit as possible is definitely one of the important things.

I repeat that all in all it's clear that they're putting great deal of effort into the game. The amount of modelling and texturing alone is formidable. I like how most of the in-game models look, the new design for glukkons and the concept art. But the devil is in the detail. I wouldn't have cared less to comment if Oddworld were just another mediocre game universe. I really hope Soulstorm does not turn out to be one of those 'play and forget' games.

P. S. I also really hope they release the editing tools. It's understandable that the creators may prefer to hold full control of their property but take a look at Half-Life for example. The SDK became available roughly at the same time as the game was released. It's been around for more than 20 years and people still keep making really good add-ons for it and updating the goldsource engine.
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Old 06-18-2019, 04:46 AM
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I pretty much agree with you about the state of SoulStorm but I would argue that Oddworld's strongest aspect was the gameplay and the atmosphere. The story was never the outstanding aspect about Oddworld, although it was well-told in AO.

Since AO the games have gradually ditched the tone and gameplay aspects that made the original so memorable, in service of Lorne's ever-changing "vision" and his insistence on having this huge epic Quintology that I don't think he even has much of an idea about.

AO was a fluke. OWI had the right people at the right time, everything came together really well and it pretty much shat out a golden egg. Then, maybe a few white eggs, but now it's just giving us rotten eggs with yellow paint on them, and telling us that they're gold.
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Old 06-18-2019, 05:51 AM
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Often. I come out of the woodwork to criticise things that used to be good but aren't any more. If this was upsetting to you, you should see some of the things I've written about game of thrones
Because that makes such a difference...

---

Admiral Zaarin I completely agree with your reasoning (plus the addition of double jump!). You're completely right in why AO was loved and I would love a sequel true to the flavour of the original too.

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Given the task of developing a new Oddworld game, an understanding of game programming and infinite time, the users of Oddworld Forums will recreate Abe's Oddysee to the minutest of details, forever.
However, you are not going to get it. Ever. AE was the closest you'll ever get to your perfect sequel.

Despite how much I hate reading what he writes, Nep is kind of right:

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AO was a fluke. OWI had the right people at the right time, everything came together really well and it pretty much shat out a golden egg. Then, maybe a few white eggs, but now it's just giving us rotten eggs with yellow paint on them silver eggs, and telling us that they're gold.
There are going to be so many things you dislike in SS, that you "want to help improve" before release, but it won't change much at all. Most of what we have seen is past the point of no return.
There are so many examples of spectacular original entertainment (Shrek, Toy Story, Assassins Creed and Command and Conquer to name a few) where they may get a great sequel or two but cannot maintain that success.

Let's just be patient, maybe lower our expectations so that we can love the game we get even more, stress less and try to enjoy life.

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Old 06-18-2019, 06:59 AM
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Nah them eggs is rotten boi

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Let's just be patient, maybe lower our expectations so that we can love the game we get even more
Yes, instead of setting our standards high to get great work, let's just hope for shit and then settle when we get piss.
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Old 06-18-2019, 07:21 AM
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I pretty much agree with you about the state of SoulStorm but I would argue that Oddworld's strongest aspect was the gameplay and the atmosphere. The story was never the outstanding aspect about Oddworld, although it was well-told in AO.
Agreed. As for the story, I usually view it in close conjunction with the overall atmosphere and lore. For a visual medium such as a videogame atmosphere set up by graphic design is an integral part of storytelling. AO's story was fairly simple by itself but it was well enaugh to keep one engaged.

To be fair, I begin to doubt that they are going to pull off the dark atmosphere they promise. While the established Oddworld lore presents really good turf for a dark story, it's not enaugh. AO and MO are good examples. In AO everything was a potential threat and the game didn't care too much to openly inform you. This made you pay more attention to inspecting the world before taking action. When Abe got shot or gored by the creatures it looked brutal. I'm not saying that in Soulstorm they should animate a slog eating Abe's guts out in full detail but if you look at the way Abe's deaths were animated in AO they looked disturbing and painful enaugh to make one feel that vicious deaths and violence are not all that abstract in that world. This adds weight to the overal hostile atmosphere set up by the story and the environment.

In MO they completely lost that, adding all the goofy effects and making the animation cartoony. The action became too abstract. The story itself might have had a serious tone but it was not enaugh. There was a very steep contrast in overall tone comparing to the previous games, at least for me.

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Admiral Zaarin I completely agree with your reasoning (plus the addition of double jump!). You're completely right in why AO was loved and I would love a sequel true to the flavour of the original too.
What has become of you, Abe, the double-jumping, bullet-sponging Sonic the Hedgehog of Oddworld?

All in all I'm worried that they're drifting towards the more casual, 'user-friendly' style which natually comes in opposition with having a darker, more serious atmosphere in line with the original game they keep promising. When OWI announced Soulstorm it was this promise that caught me. I was actually quite ready to accept major techical changes such as doing away with platforming genre in favor of something else and leaving out all the old locations from AE as long as that promise was kept.

For me the annoying thing is that OWI are seemingly aware of the drawbacks MO and N'n'T had since they are promising darker atmosphere and return to the old ways but yet there are symptoms indicating that we might not be getting it after all. I just hope I'm being too fearful about that and they keep the promise.
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Old 06-18-2019, 09:16 AM
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It's a difficult balance here. Nobody wants to jump to conclusions, but it's perfectly reasonable to form opinions on what we have seen, and to say what we prefer. We know a clip isn't necessarily reflective of the whole experience (though, gameplay effects like visual cues for gamespeak would presumably appear throughout. I hope there is an option to disable them in settings).

Any game will have pros and cons. I'll no doubt enjoy Soulstorm on release regardless, despite some design choices I might personally disagree with. I don't like the double jump, I don't like the visual effects too much, and I'm not sold on the speed/animations. But these things aren't a deal-breaker overall, and might change with further marketing. Abe was a bullet-sponge in NNT until we learnt that Hard Mode would have the classic 1-hit-kills, and that's probably the same with SS. Probably.

For game marketing, even film marketing, things usually gear towards the mainstream. The thinking is that the hardcore fans are on board regardless, so why waste time/resources preaching to the choir. That money is better spent trying to attract new customers and build an audience. And that's not to say that the companies view new customers as more important. It's a strategy, nothing more. The difficulty I expect is not leaving those true fans in the lurch.

As a long time fan, I too want the marketing to be geared to my tastes. Because even though I'm on board, I still have some doubts like have been expressed by others. After seeing more footage, perhaps I'll change my mind on the things I'm not currently keen on. And that's the marketing's job. It's not about someone's opinion being valid or not. I want OWI to convince me that the game will be what I'm looking for. For that, I need (and want) to see more.

Of course, there's a risk of letting one's expectations dictate our opinions. You see it a lot with movie reviews nowadays - people rate the movie according to what they wanted, and not what they actually got. There are elements of SoulStorm so far that I'm not keen on. However, I can't deny that objectively it does look like a very good game.
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Old 06-18-2019, 10:41 AM
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You see it a lot with movie reviews nowadays - people rate the movie according to what they wanted, and not what they actually got.
People say this happens a lot but I've literally never seen anyone do this. The problem in the case of SS is that, yet again, they lied to us, promising something that they never had any intention of delivering.
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Old 06-18-2019, 01:04 PM
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Nice to read some comprehensive stuff from Admiral, there.

Also did anyone play PlayStation games in the 1990s? The cinematics of Oddworld Abe's Oddysee and Exoddus were almost Pixar quality films compared to every other game out there at the time. I mean the cutcenes in Exoddus put me off Real Time cutscenes until games like The Last of Us began matching that similar visual quality and level of cinematic storytelling.

It was a big part of drawing you into that world and characterising all these unique little creatures.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Nepsotic View Post
Often. I come out of the woodwork to criticise things that used to be good but aren't any more. If this was upsetting to you, you should see some of the things I've written about game of thrones
Mate the books be where it be at, mate. Then you can argue about A Feast for Crows and A Dance with Dragons instead of Season 8.

Last edited by Holy Sock; 06-18-2019 at 01:13 PM..
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  #45  
Old Yesterday, 03:34 AM
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Littleleeroy Littleleeroy is offline
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Here Admiral, I made you a custom avatar since you don't have one.

Enjoy.
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  #46  
Old Yesterday, 08:28 AM
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Admiral Zaarin Admiral Zaarin is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Littleleeroy View Post
Here Admiral, I made you a custom avatar since you don't have one.
Enjoy.
Ha-ha The scars from those animations in MO and N'n'T... they never heal!
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  #47  
Old Yesterday, 08:47 AM
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Wow, when OWF is actually active there is so much emotion in just one thread. Hate, love, now charity in the form of a profile pic.
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  #48  
Old Yesterday, 12:52 PM
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Phoetux Phoetux is offline
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The OWF came back from the dead. Enjoy it while you can.
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