Double Fine's Broken Age All About Context-Based Interaction, Not Verbs

Double Fine's Broken Age All About Context-Based Interaction, Not Verbs

Tim Schafer talks about giving players actions, not words.

Double Fine's Tim Schafer earned most of his stripes working on classic Lucusarts titles like Maniac Mansion and Full Throttle. As well regarded as those games remain, they usually required the player to deduce the single correct verb to use on the single correct item/object to progress. However, Schafer wants the upcoming Broken Age to progress beyond the primitive verb-based system, and into one that's more intuitive.

"Deep down, we realized there really was always one verb, which was 'interact with', and a lot of it was context-based," Schafer told Polygon. "So in this game we've actually done that like modern adventure games like Machinarium have done. It's context-based."

Instead of having to select from a list of verbs, players will simply click on objects and interact with them in more intuitive ways. There's still an inventory to build, but items can simply be dragged and dropped into the world. Instead of finding the right choice, it's more about picking the interesting choice.

"There are parts of the game that are kind of unconventional in how they're structured because we're trying to have fun with the genre a little bit," Schafer clarified. "But [the demo area] shows the character walking around pointing and clicking, talking to people, getting dialog trees and using inventory items to solve puzzles classic-adventure game style."

The first portion of Broken Age launches via Steam's Early Access program in early 2014.

Source: Polygon

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Basically, they're using the same mechanics as, say, Broken Sword: Shadow of the Templars, released back in the mid 90's? Or maybe something very slightly watered down from that?

It's probably going to be the same interface that 'Tales of Monkey Island' and 'Night of the Rabbit' have (whereas 'Broken Sword: Shadow of the Templars' had two interactions: 'examine' and 'use'), which isn't a bad thing, because that worked well for both of those games. But, ideally, it would've been cool if it featured a similar interface to that of 'Curse of Monkey Island', where you had the option to use your mouth, eyes, or hands on something. That was a great system, because it was still context-based, but allowed a bit of freedom and room for experimentation (which is something I always loved about adventure games).

Doesnīt sound too promising, i didnīt really like it in Machinarium because you never really know what you are doing, you are just clicking on stuff and seeing what happens. I prefer to have som options so i actually have to figure out how to get past obstacles using those options. "Interact with" just seems a bit broad and vague for my taste, but letīs see how it turns out.

If they leave out "examine" iīm going to be very dissapointed, the worst thing about Machinarium is that you canīt get comments from anything, it just seems so static and boring after awhile.

I liked the Curse of Monkey Island and Full Throttle systems where you had eyes (examine) mouth (talk to) hand (use/push/pull) and/or foot (kick, walk to). So essentially there was everything you needed just simplified to a small pop-up interaction system.

MrBaskerville:
Doesnīt sound too promising, i didnīt really like it in Machinarium because you never really know what you are doing, you are just clicking on stuff and seeing what happens. I prefer to have som options so i actually have to figure out how to get past obstacles using those options. "Interact with" just seems a bit broad and vague for my taste, but letīs see how it turns out.

If they leave out "examine" iīm going to be very dissapointed, the worst thing about Machinarium is that you canīt get comments from anything, it just seems so static and boring after awhile.

It's a little more promising than you're anticipating, though. For one thing, the characters can actually talk, and Tim Schafer loves writing (as we all know), so I'm sure there'll be character commentary aplenty.

I too hope there is an 'examine' option, but even if there isn't, I'm sure that most of the characters' interactions with their environment will come with exposition attached.

Well it's nice to see Tim actually do something with all that money he got.

ShakerSilver:
Well it's nice to see Tim actually do something with all that money he got.

Tim's been doing a LOT with all the money he got. He's actually been doing more that 'the money' could handle, and has had to find other ways of fully funding this now-very-vast adventure game. The company got plenty of criticism for it, but the move itself was actually pretty wise, and it shows that his creative flair is definitely taking over on this particular project. It might have gotten them into a management/financial pickle, but at least it should pay off.

 

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