A Study of Tim Schafer

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vxicepickxv:
I wouldn't mind going back to unleash the horde of wind up rabbits into the minefield again, or try to find some new forks, well, maybe not "new" new, but not ground into thousands of little pieces new.

"Now it's just me and the bunnies."
Those bunnies were the source of so many laughs. I'll never forget hearing the Ride of the Valkyries after dropping the box of them and watching every single one explode. Good times.

You know, just yesterday I made a comment on the topic about American McGee Presents American McGee's Return of Alice by American McGee that is quite pertinent here. How does one become a 'name' in the videogame industry? You need hundreds of people to create a game nowadays - how can you think a single person, by its own, can cause strong influence on how a game is developed?

It's no wonder most 'names' are from the earlier history of gaming - back then, with no need for horders of programmers to accurately model how the heroine's hair flows against her breasts, one name could do a lot. Right now, a 'name' can steer game development in a direction, even control the entire storyline (which is actually not very important outside the point-and-click genre), but there's little it can do regarding the complexity of the mechanics.

Come on Yahtzee, you can't tell me you didn't enjoy releasing a box full of toy bunnies into a mine field in Full Throttle. You enjoyed it, you know you did!

randommaster:
What Shafer needs to do is team up with some people who are really good game designers. I think a Mario game that was set in a universe that Shafer creates would be awesome. You know you want to see a Mario game with a good story, and since it's Mario, you can have him do anything and it wouldn't be out of place. Shafer gets criticized on game design and Mario for lack of story or characterization. Sounds like a good fit to me.

That won't work. People who are exceptionally good at what they do don't necessarily work well together, that is why developers form teams with people they know they work with well. And Tim Schafer always comes across as the second-last person in the world who would ever willingly work on any ideas except his own(the last person in the world who would work on any ideas except his own is Suda51.) Finally, so far as I know, either gameplay or story inevitably takes priority over the other.

It seems a little strange that he would wade into the waters of hardcore gaming--multiplayer RTS--without giving us the controls or UI tools to micromanage an army. I understand some control will need to be sacrificed in the interest of giving up the mouse and keyboard for a console controller, but I look at Brutal Legend, and I see that hardcore gaming needs were blatantly disregarded to appeal to the casual gamer set.

Not even giving a health bar above you or your enemy... WTF?!? No minimap has been a widespread complaint... imagine playing Starcraft 2 without a minimap. LOL? Not being able to control units from afar? ...

I agree with the point that he seems to want an imersive story to the point that he will deny us good gameplay. I really wanted this one to be good... I love the units, and an RTS of battling rock band fandom is brilliant. If Double Fine gives us a control overhaul patch I'll be the first to get this one.

Ironically- you would actually use a foam construction if taking a photo to advertise creme brulee. Common food photography secret.

i don´t agree on brutal legend. there may be some minor faults to the gameplay. the side-missions wear out quick, there´s not that much depth to the system of gaining new weapons and powers, you have no automap and the rts-part can be confusing at times. but still, its gameplay is really fun. the controls are precise, it´s not hard to pull your moves off. winning a stage battle can be really satisfying, the solos are too short and to fun to get annoying and it´s more original than to pop up a menü and cast a spell by only clicking on it. brütal legend doesn´t shine through its gameplay, but the gameplay isn´t really bad either. for what it tries to achieve it´s actually pretty good imo.

and i don´t see why he has to diss open world-games so frequently when he generally loves every game where open world equals i am able to destroy the whole city right off the bat. let´s take brütal legend as an example again. free roaming through the world of brütal legend wasn´t only cool because the world was so imaginative. it was also because you can reach some places before you are supposed to get there, the game world grows on you. i remember reaching that giant wall of speakers and i just thought wtf? if you have such moments when you can freeroam and are not pushed by the story, you create your own story. you also become more immersed, because when you actually reach that place in the story you´ve already been there. and maybe you were too weak then and got your ass kicked, so now you´re back for revenge. i think you get what i mean...

TheReactorSings points out something that I noticed as well.

TheReactorSings:
"On-bike combat sequences were roughly EQUIVOCAL to a fighting game in which all the characters are inflatable clowns..."

You keep using that word... ;-)

I wasn't going to say anything, when he used "equivocal" instead of "equivalent" in the last Extra Punctuation, since it might have been just an accident, but now it seems that there is some genuine confusion. "Equivocation" is a rhetorical fallacy, wherein two different meanings of a word are falsely conflated, for example when one disputant pretends that their opponent was using one specific meaning of a word and argues against that, when they know bloody well that it's not what their opponent actually meant.

As for Yahtzee's pronunciation of "Brütal", it sounds fairly okay to my German ears, especially considering that - unlike "ä" and "ö" - it's not a sound that is part of the English language. It combines the lip position of "oo" with the tongue position of "ee"; if you go "oooeeeoooeeeooo" and pay conscious attention to what your lips and tongue do, as you switch between sounds, you'll know what I mean.

zagzag:
Brutal legend (don't know how to get umlauts when typing into this) definitely lives up to Tim Shafer weirdness standards

Hold down ALT and type in 129 for ü

iamthehorde:

and i don´t see why he has to diss open world-games so frequently when he generally loves every game where open world equals i am able to destroy the whole city right off the bat. let´s take brütal legend as an example again. free roaming through the world of brütal legend wasn´t only cool because the world was so imaginative. it was also because you can reach some places before you are supposed to get there, the game world grows on you. i remember reaching that giant wall of speakers and i just thought wtf? if you have such moments when you can freeroam and are not pushed by the story, you create your own story. you also become more immersed, because when you actually reach that place in the story you´ve already been there. and maybe you were too weak then and got your ass kicked, so now you´re back for revenge. i think you get what i mean...

I'm not sure why open world games are so adored myself. In such games you spend half your time just going from point A to point B. I just played through Arx Fatalis which I grabbed off of Gog.com and that's what I did, spent a good half the time just walking to different locales to talk to some guy or do whatever. I think I much prefer something like Thief, where the level or situation is open in that the player can choose what to do but there's linearity to it so you don't spend so much time just walking or driving.

Akalabeth:
Hold down ALT and type in 129 for ü

That's dependent on the codepage of the user's computer and may get garbled when viewed on another user's computer or in a browser with a different default character set. The safest method is to use the HTML entity ü, which is a semantic markup, independent from any character set.

"so many bases were being covered it was easy to steer around the potholes."

...Wait what?

It seems a bit of a strange point to make, I've never heard any of Tim's games praised for their exemplary gameplay, only the inventive and interesting writing. It's not so much that they are hit and miss in terms of gameplay, so much as they are miss and miss.

Regarding QTE's, what your explaining in god of war is the kind of...test your reactions to get a reward...but fuck it up, and just try again, or in 90% of cases, just hit it for another 10 seconds and it dies

The rewards in that game is normally a quicker kill, or a more greusome and satisfying kill, which is a good way to use QTE's

A bad way to use them is the whole, wall of QTE thing, like....you cannot progress untill you have hit these buttons in a specific order...god of war had some bad cases of this, like when you are getting dragged by your sword chains with that barbarians horse...

Maybe a good idea would be that QTE's get progressively easier the more you fuck em up, but then it just does away with the satisfaction of actually beating them.....'oh great i won third time lucky but only because I managed to slow down the event to fit the reactions of a goldfish'

Akalabeth:

iamthehorde:

and i don´t see why he has to diss open world-games so frequently when he generally loves every game where open world equals i am able to destroy the whole city right off the bat. let´s take brütal legend as an example again. free roaming through the world of brütal legend wasn´t only cool because the world was so imaginative. it was also because you can reach some places before you are supposed to get there, the game world grows on you. i remember reaching that giant wall of speakers and i just thought wtf? if you have such moments when you can freeroam and are not pushed by the story, you create your own story. you also become more immersed, because when you actually reach that place in the story you´ve already been there. and maybe you were too weak then and got your ass kicked, so now you´re back for revenge. i think you get what i mean...

I'm not sure why open world games are so adored myself. In such games you spend half your time just going from point A to point B. I just played through Arx Fatalis which I grabbed off of Gog.com and that's what I did, spent a good half the time just walking to different locales to talk to some guy or do whatever. I think I much prefer something like Thief, where the level or situation is open in that the player can choose what to do but there's linearity to it so you don't spend so much time just walking or driving.

i know what you mean, but the point is an open world game normally shouldn´t be like that. an open world game should make all that zip-zingin from a to b fun and also the game world must be interesting enough so you feel you get an abstract reward for your free roaming, if you do so.

yahtzee often seems to disregard open world gameplay as cheap trickery because it virtually frees the developer from a lot of problems a more lineary game comes with. at the same time, he promotes one of the prime examples of open world games that is nothing but that, saints row2. a good and fun game, but in the end it´s just a collection of ridiculed gta missions in a pretty bland city with absurd customization options. and you still have to drive a lot from there to there. it´s like saying if open world, no story please and let me do everything i want. a playground basically.

but i don´t see why open world gameplay in general should have a stand against immersion or storytelling. there were a lot of open world games that did that really well in the past.

JakobBloch:
Hmmm so a QTE is suppose to be:
1) Player initiated and
2) rewarding beyond what you would normally get?

that works in my head for some reason.

Well, yeah.

The QTEs in God of War, and the reloading minigame in Gears of War, aren't all that ad; they're optional, don't break gameflow, and reward the player if pulled off.

Then you get the QTEs like in the first Devil May Cry (I think), and occasionally in Final Fantasy; they appear with no warning, five minutes into a ten minute cutscene, are mandatory, and dump you back at the start of the cutscene (or, on one memorable occasion, back to the last save point. At the start of the dungeon half an hour ago). Personally, I don't like being punished for wanting to stretch my legs during a decades-long cinematic, and especially after a gruelling, three-hour dungeon crawl with no chance to save.

The Random One:
You know, just yesterday I made a comment on the topic about American McGee Presents American McGee's Return of Alice by American McGee that is quite pertinent here. How does one become a 'name' in the videogame industry? You need hundreds of people to create a game nowadays - how can you think a single person, by its own, can cause strong influence on how a game is developed?

It's no wonder most 'names' are from the earlier history of gaming - back then, with no need for horders of programmers to accurately model how the heroine's hair flows against her breasts, one name could do a lot. Right now, a 'name' can steer game development in a direction, even control the entire storyline (which is actually not very important outside the point-and-click genre), but there's little it can do regarding the complexity of the mechanics.

These days, most relatively new 'names' are those who've already become big in another medium - people like Clive Barker, or Tom Clancy.

Alternatively, a 'name' can be more than an individual; look at how many peole scramble to grab any game that has a Valve or Infinity Ward logo on the front.

Yeah, people seem to jump all over a property if it has a name attached to it.

Incedentally, how's that book coming along, Yahtzee? You know, the with "From the creator of 'Zero Punctuation'" on the cover?

His writing usually makes up for the other faults of the game, honestly.
The dialogue alone makes me want to actually play Brutal Legend.

It's not like Chris Taylor where it's the total opposite.

"Brooetal Legend"

Without umlaut "Bruetal Legend" would be closer to proper spelling.

Heh, it is all very well to complain about pissy/whiny gamers who are idiots, Crosshaw. Just so long as you accept you are one yourself. We get it. You did not enjoy Brutal Legend.

While it did a lot of things poorly, I think it is blasphemous to overlook the frankly stunning work of the art team and animators. This is easily some of the best art directions I have encountered in years and to not even touch upon that is ridiculous.

The 'a demo must show everything that is involved in the gameplay' is also completely nonsensical. Driving was involved in almost every part of the game, as was the combat. So to say that the demo is completely unrepresentative of the gameplay is altogether misleading. While I enjoy your tirades for the Brooker-like speed and humour(as many do), yet I feel the 'reviews' have never worked as a result of you being as much a slave to your trade and audience as those whom you slander.

Sewblon:

randommaster:
What Shafer needs to do is team up with some people who are really good game designers. I think a Mario game that was set in a universe that Shafer creates would be awesome. You know you want to see a Mario game with a good story, and since it's Mario, you can have him do anything and it wouldn't be out of place. Shafer gets criticized on game design and Mario for lack of story or characterization. Sounds like a good fit to me.

That won't work. People who are exceptionally good at what they do don't necessarily work well together, that is why developers form teams with people they know they work with well. And Tim Schafer always comes across as the second-last person in the world who would ever willingly work on any ideas except his own(the last person in the world who would work on any ideas except his own is Suda51.) Finally, so far as I know, either gameplay or story inevitably takes priority over the other.

I know that mad geniuses don't usually work well together, but it would still be cool to see. And as far as the story vs. design conflict goes, you don't always need a deep story, just good characterization. Psychonauts had a rather generic overall story, but the settings and character development were what set it apart. You don't need to devote a lot of time to what's going on, just a little bit of time geared towards helping the audience understand the characters better.

randommaster:

Sewblon:

randommaster:
What Shafer needs to do is team up with some people who are really good game designers. I think a Mario game that was set in a universe that Shafer creates would be awesome. You know you want to see a Mario game with a good story, and since it's Mario, you can have him do anything and it wouldn't be out of place. Shafer gets criticized on game design and Mario for lack of story or characterization. Sounds like a good fit to me.

That won't work. People who are exceptionally good at what they do don't necessarily work well together, that is why developers form teams with people they know they work with well. And Tim Schafer always comes across as the second-last person in the world who would ever willingly work on any ideas except his own(the last person in the world who would work on any ideas except his own is Suda51.) Finally, so far as I know, either gameplay or story inevitably takes priority over the other.

I know that mad geniuses don't usually work well together, but it would still be cool to see. And as far as the story vs. design conflict goes, you don't always need a deep story, just good characterization. Psychonauts had a rather generic overall story, but the settings and character development were what set it apart. You don't need to devote a lot of time to what's going on, just a little bit of time geared towards helping the audience understand the characters better.

The main problem isn't gameplay VS story though. The main problem is that teams make video games, and you can't replicate group dynamics. The only way for the game you are talking about to exist would be for Tim Schafer and some employees from Nintendo to form an entirely new team, and since you can't replicate group dynamics, no matter how talented the those people are as individuals, they wouldn't necessarily work well together or make anything good in the end. And if the story and gameplay, no matter how good they each are by themselves, don't fit together, the final product will suffer for it.

I'm getting a little tried of seeing people who dont grasp the idea that the umlaut is not meant to be spoken. Like the one in Motörhead.

Sewblon:

randommaster:

Sewblon:

randommaster:
What Shafer needs to do is team up with some people who are really good game designers. I think a Mario game that was set in a universe that Shafer creates would be awesome. You know you want to see a Mario game with a good story, and since it's Mario, you can have him do anything and it wouldn't be out of place. Shafer gets criticized on game design and Mario for lack of story or characterization. Sounds like a good fit to me.

That won't work. People who are exceptionally good at what they do don't necessarily work well together, that is why developers form teams with people they know they work with well. And Tim Schafer always comes across as the second-last person in the world who would ever willingly work on any ideas except his own(the last person in the world who would work on any ideas except his own is Suda51.) Finally, so far as I know, either gameplay or story inevitably takes priority over the other.

I know that mad geniuses don't usually work well together, but it would still be cool to see. And as far as the story vs. design conflict goes, you don't always need a deep story, just good characterization. Psychonauts had a rather generic overall story, but the settings and character development were what set it apart. You don't need to devote a lot of time to what's going on, just a little bit of time geared towards helping the audience understand the characters better.

The main problem isn't gameplay VS story though. The main problem is that teams make video games, and you can't replicate group dynamics. The only way for the game you are talking about to exist would be for Tim Schafer and some employees from Nintendo to form an entirely new team, and since you can't replicate group dynamics, no matter how talented the those people are as individuals, they wouldn't necessarily work well together or make anything good in the end. And if the story and gameplay, no matter how good they each are by themselves, don't fit together, the final product will suffer for it.

I thinl the main problem with getting anybody to work with anybody else is getting the money to convince them to do it. Whether Shafer, or anybody else, would work well with another team will go unanswered because you don't want to risk dumping a lot of money into a project that won't turn out well. I'm sure if somebody provided enough money, you could get anybody to work with anybody else. Since nobody's doing that, however, we won't see experimental teams doing crazy projects since developers don't want to lose a bunch of money.

randommaster:

Sewblon:

randommaster:

Sewblon:

randommaster:
What Shafer needs to do is team up with some people who are really good game designers. I think a Mario game that was set in a universe that Shafer creates would be awesome. You know you want to see a Mario game with a good story, and since it's Mario, you can have him do anything and it wouldn't be out of place. Shafer gets criticized on game design and Mario for lack of story or characterization. Sounds like a good fit to me.

That won't work. People who are exceptionally good at what they do don't necessarily work well together, that is why developers form teams with people they know they work with well. And Tim Schafer always comes across as the second-last person in the world who would ever willingly work on any ideas except his own(the last person in the world who would work on any ideas except his own is Suda51.) Finally, so far as I know, either gameplay or story inevitably takes priority over the other.

I know that mad geniuses don't usually work well together, but it would still be cool to see. And as far as the story vs. design conflict goes, you don't always need a deep story, just good characterization. Psychonauts had a rather generic overall story, but the settings and character development were what set it apart. You don't need to devote a lot of time to what's going on, just a little bit of time geared towards helping the audience understand the characters better.

The main problem isn't gameplay VS story though. The main problem is that teams make video games, and you can't replicate group dynamics. The only way for the game you are talking about to exist would be for Tim Schafer and some employees from Nintendo to form an entirely new team, and since you can't replicate group dynamics, no matter how talented the those people are as individuals, they wouldn't necessarily work well together or make anything good in the end. And if the story and gameplay, no matter how good they each are by themselves, don't fit together, the final product will suffer for it.

I thinl the main problem with getting anybody to work with anybody else is getting the money to convince them to do it. Whether Shafer, or anybody else, would work well with another team will go unanswered because you don't want to risk dumping a lot of money into a project that won't turn out well. I'm sure if somebody provided enough money, you could get anybody to work with anybody else. Since nobody's doing that, however, we won't see experimental teams doing crazy projects since developers don't want to lose a bunch of money.

It isn't just money, many people just don't work well together even when they want to. And like you said, mad geniuses don't usually work well together.

Full Throttle! That's the name! I've been nostalgia-craving that game for a long time but I could never remember the name. Ahh the glorious days of playing game demos my friend's dad brought home on his Windows 3.1 machine.
Interesting to know it's by the same guy.
Even though Yahtzee says it's a pile of crap, I'd still like to play it for nostalgia's sake.
Anybody know where/how I could get it and run it on XP?

ScummVM is the answer to your problem Beema.

Sewblon:

randommaster:

Sewblon:

randommaster:

Sewblon:

randommaster:
What Shafer needs to do is team up with some people who are really good game designers. I think a Mario game that was set in a universe that Shafer creates would be awesome. You know you want to see a Mario game with a good story, and since it's Mario, you can have him do anything and it wouldn't be out of place. Shafer gets criticized on game design and Mario for lack of story or characterization. Sounds like a good fit to me.

That won't work. People who are exceptionally good at what they do don't necessarily work well together, that is why developers form teams with people they know they work with well. And Tim Schafer always comes across as the second-last person in the world who would ever willingly work on any ideas except his own(the last person in the world who would work on any ideas except his own is Suda51.) Finally, so far as I know, either gameplay or story inevitably takes priority over the other.

I know that mad geniuses don't usually work well together, but it would still be cool to see. And as far as the story vs. design conflict goes, you don't always need a deep story, just good characterization. Psychonauts had a rather generic overall story, but the settings and character development were what set it apart. You don't need to devote a lot of time to what's going on, just a little bit of time geared towards helping the audience understand the characters better.

The main problem isn't gameplay VS story though. The main problem is that teams make video games, and you can't replicate group dynamics. The only way for the game you are talking about to exist would be for Tim Schafer and some employees from Nintendo to form an entirely new team, and since you can't replicate group dynamics, no matter how talented the those people are as individuals, they wouldn't necessarily work well together or make anything good in the end. And if the story and gameplay, no matter how good they each are by themselves, don't fit together, the final product will suffer for it.

I thinl the main problem with getting anybody to work with anybody else is getting the money to convince them to do it. Whether Shafer, or anybody else, would work well with another team will go unanswered because you don't want to risk dumping a lot of money into a project that won't turn out well. I'm sure if somebody provided enough money, you could get anybody to work with anybody else. Since nobody's doing that, however, we won't see experimental teams doing crazy projects since developers don't want to lose a bunch of money.

It isn't just money, many people just don't work well together even when they want to. And like you said, mad geniuses don't usually work well together.

We'll probably never find out, though. Eeven so, I'd still like to see something that was the result of Miyamoto and Shafer working together.

The biker fights are skippable in Full Throttle (Left Shift + V), but of course that functionality was as well-documented as half the mechanics in Brutal Legend (that is to say, not at all).

Well I still think Brutal Legend was a good game. Not as good as psychonauts but imo that's mainly because it felt like the last 1/4 was missing from it. And that's certainly possible it was pushed out the door before it was truly ready.

As for QTE I think they are fine, even in cutscenes, if they are done right. Give us good warning they are coming and decent amount of time to press it.

And as always it's interesting to know why he feels the way he does, even if I don't agree.

Rogthgar:
I'm getting a little tried of seeing people who dont grasp the idea that the umlaut is not meant to be spoken.

We know that the umlaut was just intended to be a stylistic embellishment, not meant to be actually pronounced, and so does Yahtzee - but he's a rebel who doesn't play by society's rules, man, so he did it anyway, and now we're just talking about how well he did or didn't pronounce it. Untwist your knickers.

I hate people who love "Indie Games" because it seems like the "in" thing to do. Psychonauts was pretty average. Occasionally, a game is mainstream because....here's a shocker...it actually deserves its merit

"Indie Games"
well i still don't know how to feel about that genre, if that title is fair. I liked Brutal Legend, but i was not really in the ballpark for Tims other titles, i think Yahtzee review was fair

Psychonauts was a fun and funny game, but I was never able to beat it because of the annoying cookie troop boss lady. I even had to look up a gamer faq on it, only to discover that the boss had two or three tiers which got insanely difficult each time. And ya, the demo for Brutal Legend does seem to not reflect what the game was really all about, which almost seems to show that they were not sure of the RTS aspect themselves.

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