The Design of Consuming Shadow

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dunam:

Guffe:
Enjoying the game, yet to get to the Stonehenge finale, been close twice, level 5 (soon six) so I've had a few runs.

Well done Yahtzee, the game is certainly keeping me playing it. And I'm no fan of horror (I like Arkham Horror though :P)

Just one question:

The guy with the Hat who spans in some dungeons, I have yet been able to kill him even I shoot and beat him, like, A LOT!!
Am I just that bad at this :P

Now I just wait to encounter him to have another shot at him :,(

The tall guy is basically slenderman in that the camera starts turning to static when you're close to him.

Also don't certain runes boost your sanity? I always cast whichever rune I come across because my stupid ass has yet to write down their meanings and some of them do say that you feel reassured which seems like a small boost to sanity. As the game progresses I like that you can basically gamble with your mind, do you risk casting a powerful spell to save yourself now but increase the risk of suicide later?

While I'm thinking about it it needs more death animations than simply falling on your face, it's why Dead Space really makes you want to not die. Falling over isn't as scary as being impaled or having your head removed.

Finally thank you so much for the keyboard controls, they're a lifesaver.

Xan Krieger:
The tall guy is basically slenderman in that the camera starts turning to static when you're close to him.

Actually (puts on "Irritating Pedantic Nerd" hat), the Tall Man was created by Yahtzee before Slenderman ever existed.

[REDACTED]:

Xan Krieger:
The tall guy is basically slenderman in that the camera starts turning to static when you're close to him.

Actually (puts on "Irritating Pedantic Nerd" hat), the Tall Man was created by Yahtzee before Slenderman ever existed.

My apologies, I hadn't done any prior research. So I take it this means Yahtzee is the actual creator of something that has made so many grown men scream in terror?

Xan Krieger:

[REDACTED]:

Xan Krieger:
The tall guy is basically slenderman in that the camera starts turning to static when you're close to him.

Actually (puts on "Irritating Pedantic Nerd" hat), the Tall Man was created by Yahtzee before Slenderman ever existed.

My apologies, I hadn't done any prior research. So I take it this means Yahtzee is the actual creator of something that has made so many grown men scream in terror?

Sort of... in an extremely indirect fashion. All I know is that the Tall Man was a villain from the Chzo games, and that they came before Slenderman.

Deshara:

strumbore:
That's true, but to get right down to brass tacks, Ben Croshaw is a very one-dimensional character writer. I have read his work. Short stories on Fullyramblomatic.com, as well as excerpts from Mogworld and JAM! All his characters are singularly focused ("singularly focused"=/="determined") and there is an omnipresent, awkward tension between his characters at all times.

What, have you actually read any of what he wrote? The whole singular focus/determination thing is the entire point of Never mind, just realised you admitted, in your criticism of an author's writing, having never actually fucking read that author's actual writing.

I've "admitted" no such thing. Croshaw's writing is extremely accessible on the internet and I've read nearly everything short of paying to read his ***TWO*** published novels.

Why are you swearing? You might as well be screaming at the computer. Please control yourself. =/

Deshara:
Judging a book by its cover is one thing, but judging am author by books you've never actually read is an entirely new level of low.p

Croshaw's website has links to a lot of what he has written, published/unpublished, fiction/nonfiction. I read some of it. By internet standards, a lot of it. I read as much of Croshaw's "Articulate Jim" as I could stand two or so years ago. As his new books came out, I read all the excerpts I could find, on his site and otherwise, and they're all very similar in tone despite his disclaimers on his earlier work. As a critic he's inflammatory and juvenile, but take away the homosexual undertones and scat humor, and he's a great critic I happen to agree with most of the time. That is why I read so much of his other work and tested his game.

Deshara:
Also, stop repeating "as it stands right now". It's bad writing, incredibly bad communication and also makes you sound like a psychopath
(which, for reference, isn't an insult. Compulsive use of fillers is an actual sign of that, jsyk)

I didn't care to break out my thesaurus to repeatedly distinguish existing problems and potential solutions.

What is swearing at literary criticism on video-game forums a sign of?

I rather liked the game. Now, it turns out, my wife won't let me play it, or state of decay, and this has to do with sound effects. The Squish squish bang bang gurgle gurgle drives her up the wall. Sometimes I wonder if her spiderlike behavior is a sign of posession by minions by the elder gods, but I just ignore it and go back to writing.

For critique, I'd say that in the early game, there is probably not enough to do before death. I didn't feel so much like an investigator but more of a dude with comically few bullets (i don't even keep a spare box of ammo in the car? i know we're in the UK here but come on) trying to figure out which enemies to pistol whip and which to shoot in the face.

I had some difficulty with the controls and speeds but that would sort out with a couple more run throughs.

I really like the game but some things I'd love to see improved upon:

-Magic: I like the idea of using the runes to cast something and it works well for healing and buff spells but the combat spells are very clumsy to use. Maybe adding a way of activating the runes directly from the game's main bar or some sort of fast-casting system would be great.
Also more spells would be cool. What about a containment circle that can be placed on the ground and traps enemies?

-Weapons: Maybe a cricket bat or something else as a melee weapon? Basically a longer reach melee attack, maybe with "durability" or just a simple chance to break or something comparable. It could replace armor piercing bullets which feel a bit unnecessary because you don't often fight enough enemies at once and even then they don't line up in a straight line.

-Dungeons: They play very similar and I always go at them the same way (run straight ahead, then clear north or south rooms, then the other side). Of course the objectives vary but until you stumble over it, the dungeons are extremely similar. I'm sure Yahtzee will improve them but maybe adding stuff like traps, maps, enemies you want to avoid, ways to avoid enemies, maybe summon allies/cannonfodder...

-Loot overspill: I get so many situations where I get 4 bullets when I already am at full capacity. Leaving the overspill behind so you can pick it up later would be handy but isn't the only option for changing this.

-Skills: For me, it feels like some are too weak whereas others (car speed) are extremely potent. Car speed for example lets you breeze everywhere, collect lots of money and everything else faster. Lockpicking on the other hand is applied only very rarely in the game and then there are alternatives like the spell and the janitor key in nearly every dungeon. Maybe lockpicking could be combined with something else like slightly better loot? Or make it a "detective" skill that also increases you chance to find clues and/or gives hints for wall runes or random encounters?
There could also be a magic skill that gives you random starting spells when having a few points into them and that decreases their sanity drain. It could also help slightly with wall runes.
What about med kit capacity? Maybe turn it into first aid that also decreases the chance for fractures/bleeding or gives more options in random encounters.

-Random encounters: I think there could be a few options in them based on having a high enough skill in something. This could help particularly the weaker skills.

Menu options outside of dungeons randomly change to 'Shoot Yourself' in such a way that you can very easily click them accidentally

that is both evil and hilarious haha...sometimes I feel games should mess with players more lol

(Slow Clap)

Bravo, dear Yahtzhee. Bravo. You've truly taken innovative ideas to game mechanics which, while not outright bad, definitely weren't as implemented as brilliantly as you made them here. I haven't heard the slightest about "Consuming Shadow" until this article, but the very way you describe how the sanity meter works this time (i.e., it makes imaginary enemies you waste bullets on, and even gives increasing odds of killing yourself) definitely makes me wish some other games try to implement sanity beyond "blurry placeholder for the 'raspberry jam' splatters of the FPS genre", or even the parlor tricks of "screwing with the fourth wall" (like in "Eternal Darkness", or the Psycho Mantis fight from "Metal Gear Solid").

Certainly looks to be a fun Lovecraft-style game. Can't wait to hear how the final product turns out!

The dungeon sections are the deal breaker for me. They're clunky to control and I can't react quick enough with the input options given to me. Monsters take quite a chunk of health and need to be evaded but movement is neither quick nor easy. This means that any damage taken is due to awkward controls rather than my own lack of skill which is frustrating.

Bullets are sparse, which is fine, but the only remaining option is very close quarters melee attacks which WILL result in damage taken. We need more melee options including something with a little more range, maybe throwing items?

Also due to the random nature of the text messages I got about 3 in a row that reduced my sanity to stupidly low levels which eventuated in the accidental click of the "shoot myself" button. I say accidental in the loosest of ways because I was actually tricked: the buttons kept swapping places. This is not a "Ha ha you should be more careful" section it's basically a stonewall with a 50/50 chance of dying. Very unfair.

I do however love the car sections and movement around the world, the ability to choose location and what you do there.

Has anyone ever run into the "You are Dead" screen right after clicking one of the buttons? This keeps happening to me. I don't think it's the "shoot yourself" thing because I don't even get the minigame. The screen just fades out and I see the screen telling me I died. This gets especially annoying when it happens right before I'm about to enter Stonehenge.
Is this part of the game or is it a bug?

The other important thing was that low sanity should actually create problems. The thing about Eternal Darkness is that it had clever notions to pretend it was deleting your saves or have the main character sink into the floor or explode, but once I understood that these were sanity effects, I felt more motivation to go around with as low sanity as possible to see if I could trigger new ones I hadn't seen yet. I thought they were fun to watch, and they had no lasting effect. It was like collecting trading cards.

It's my understanding that a common complaint among even fans of EDSR that sanity loss would lead to a loss of camera control, which would maddeningly fuck up your attempts to deal with monsters.

Now, given Yahtzee's comments in what I believe were the same week's Zero Punctuation, I could see why that might not be considered a plus, but it does dovetail with Yahtzee's talk about consequences and not with how sanity played out in the game.

I mean, otherwise, fair enough. He doesn't like some features as they were implemented and appears to be attempting to implement them i ways that are more suitable. Sounds like a noble approach.

One thing I just noticed: The "shoot yourself" awareness checks you get when insane can help you to get out of undesirable situations.

Example: I get the "you are tired, do you a) take a nap b) drive against a wall c) drive around 2 hours looking for a coffee?" random event.
I (accidentally?) trigger the "shoot yourself", wrestle the gun away and I'm back on the road.

rofltehcat:
One thing I just noticed: The "shoot yourself" awareness checks you get when insane can help you to get out of undesirable situations.

Example: I get the "you are tired, do you a) take a nap b) drive against a wall c) drive around 2 hours looking for a coffee?" random event.
I (accidentally?) trigger the "shoot yourself", wrestle the gun away and I'm back on the road.

This 'feature' is quite a double-edged sword though as it can also lead to losing out on chances to get new items or finish quests as you'll be back at the car after the mini-game with no way of getting back to the hardware store or suspicious place you found. It's annoying because those events often feel more interesting than the regular 'red cross' dungeons you visit.

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