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frozentreasure
Nov 13, 2012

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Gettin' in on the ground floor to say I hate a great deal that surrounds the puzzles in The Witness and Blow's apparent attitude towards games, people who make games, and people who play games. But a lot of the puzzles here are fantastic.

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frozentreasure
Nov 13, 2012

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homphgomph posted:

Oh! I did not know that, I just figured that was there to show which ones of those you've done. Neat!

Both. It lets you replay the videos using the panels that fill in so you don't need to remember every time.

Please continue to make fun of old white men telling you off for not living your entire life by the scientific process, for finding valuable statements about the world in art, and even thinking that the arts and sciences are not diametrically opposed to one another such that you can completely discard the former.

frozentreasure
Nov 13, 2012

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LogicalFallacy posted:

If it looks like a circle connected to a line, or what might be such if squinted at from the right angle, it's almost certainly an environmental puzzle.

Not even "almost"; anything that looks like a circle is absolutely a perspective puzzle waiting to happen, which I kind of don't like about the game.

frozentreasure
Nov 13, 2012

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That audio log ended up ruining my interest in the prospect of going to space and being in space after Chris Hadfield's Ted Talk made me overwhelmingly excited and jealous of the fact that I might never get to go to space and have that experience for several months. So I guess this game really is art, because it elicited an emotional response in me.

frozentreasure fucked around with this message at May 22, 2016 around 04:29

frozentreasure
Nov 13, 2012

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The complaint that the branching (ahem) path in Shady Trees doesn't give any indication that it's inverting the rules is frankly absurd. If it's clear at a glance that it's completely impossible to solve with the style of solution you're familiar with then there is no other explanation than it using a different style of solution, that much is obvious without having to point out the colours of the lines or even the split in the path.

frozentreasure
Nov 13, 2012

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That wasn't a good video. Just because you had already seen it and were in a rush to catch back up doesn't mean everyone else watching was in the same position. Burning through puzzles without letting the viewer actually take them in and recognise what was going on is exactly the same as someone poorly doing a non-blind LP. Also I think you guys misinterpreted the much simpler explanation behind the "Blow woke up in the middle of the night with this in mind" puzzle.

frozentreasure
Nov 13, 2012

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It's very clearly Channelwood. But without the intrigue of a thriving society being possible.

frozentreasure
Nov 13, 2012

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I never understand people with the ability to leave a puzzle unfinished. Even with an open-ended design I still sat down with each area and finished them one-by-one. It just seemed more convenient.

frozentreasure
Nov 13, 2012

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I don't think the Blastoise was quite as funny as you did.

AlphaKretin posted:

I have a headache now.

I'm mostly joking but those sounds did really start to grate. And the lack of consideration for deafness is pretty lovely, especially since it doesn't give the impression of being a game that requires sound to be enjoyed.

It doesn't give the impression of being a game that requires the full capacity of sight to be enjoyed either. It's really unfortunate.

frozentreasure
Nov 13, 2012

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ManicVolcanic posted:

2. You got quite lucky with the bamboo maze. The intended method of finding your way through it is listening for the hum of the yellow box -- it gets louder as you get closer.

Luck's got nothin' to do with it:

quote:

Just follow the left wall

frozentreasure
Nov 13, 2012

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The puzzle is good (if you can actually distinguish colours), but I don't necessarily agree with Jesse's articulation of why it's good. And Joe was also wrong, it's not brute-forcing it at all. It's just common sense, like Katie said, and it's sort of how I solved it. Notice that there are four distinct blocks of colour and separate them all from each other (though in my case, I just decided to separate the middle two since I saw those finally change when they hadn't across the first two floors).

As far as solving it by paying attention to the colours, I think you were all overcomplicating it a bit, and you can figure it out by looking at everything on each floor, but it's easy to say that when you know the solution. You don't need to try and figure out what each block's actual colour is, just what it would be when viewed through the appropriate filter. The simple way to think of it is that each floor that emits a solid colour of light will "paint" the blocks on the puzzle either white or black, and the floors in-between solid colours give you a hint as to what they may actually be coloured. Blue gets painted black by red light, yellow gets painted black by blue light, red gets painted black by green light. The flowers on and between each floor hint at this; on the "purple" floor, the flowers appear to be either red, blue, or white.

I would advise you to keep that in mind so you can keep it simple if you are really set on solving all of the puzzles, when you get to the town.

Colours are pretty impressive. You look at the blocks on any of the red, blue, or green floors, and even if you hadn't done the puzzles leading up to them, in the back of your head you know they aren't black or white, but your eyes just normalise it.

frozentreasure
Nov 13, 2012

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Every time I hear "spiky ball" I get messed up because I always saw them as sun icons in my playthrough.

frozentreasure
Nov 13, 2012

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No, it would have worked, and I saw it as well. The points that aren't hit in that screenshot are easily fixed by Jesse's green line, which he drew because the line Joe has drawn there separated the two-blue from the T-block.

EDIT: No, never mind, I was drawing my own line in my head when I was watching that was just very similar.

frozentreasure fucked around with this message at Aug 28, 2016 around 04:57

frozentreasure
Nov 13, 2012

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I was trying to figure out how to explain that I didn't really find the dual bridges that hard to solve, and then I realised it's because I played a lot of Tron Light Cycles when I was younger, so I instinctively am drawn to maximise space while drawing lines when I only have a limited amount.

frozentreasure
Nov 13, 2012

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I don't want to say that I think Katie isn't quite the ideal player of a game like this, based on the things she's said about expectations for a story and the replay value of games without one. What I will say, which I'm sure Blow would say or think to himself, is that all three of you feeling dissatisfaction with the ending, and your desire for there to be something else, something more, something big that the game builds up to in a traditional narrative or thematically-tying climax, is proving a point he was trying to make.

One of my problems with The Witness, though, is that it doesn't make that point as well as Antichamber did three years ago. Nor does it really make any of its points better than the words and works of others throughout history that it is verbatim referencing, for that matter.

Without wanting to spoil Antichamber for anyone who hasn't played it (skip this post and play it, then), it also is more of a "pure" puzzle game that seems to be building towards an ending, has an ending sequence, and then appears to not really resolve itself in any meaningful way or bring closure to the story. It even quits the game, I think it may have been the first game to start that trend, though it feels much more expected in the way that game ends, and doesn't start you off on a blank save afterwards.

When I got a chance to talk to the developer, Alexander Bruce, he told me about how many complaints he got from people who weren't happy with the ending, and he was very forthcoming about how those people missed the point. At basically every point in Antichamber the game makes clear, in a fairly on-the-nose fashion, that you shouldn't be trying to rush to the ending, it's about the journey, etc., and that focusing on the ending and judging the game based on whatever payoff you were expecting despite the game making no effort to build it up by any means is robbing you of the rest of the experience.

We're closing in on ten years since Portal came out. Ever since Portal, I think players have, without realising it, developed an expectation that a puzzle game, especially if it's in first-person, should have really well-designed puzzles for the first 90% of the game and then have some story sequence that brings together any incidental environmental touches as context clues for a bigger world, and to have an explosive finish; and a bias towards games that don't.

I can think of a lot of puzzle games that have come out in the past decade, and plenty of them are no-frills, purely about the puzzles, don't have any significant story to speak of, and don't have a big finish. And plenty of them are fine like that; they still get harder, have plenty of mechanics, and provide the endorphin rush of solving a puzzle, which is the absolute first goal of a puzzle game. I've never had a problem with those types of puzzle games not having a story, and it's never particularly killed the replay value for me, I still go back to re-solve puzzle games every couple of years once I've forgotten enough of the specifics.

Then you have a game like The Talos Principle (for some reason likened to Portal, which I don't see aside from being first-person and having a voice talk to you), which does have a story and tie everything together in a big, telegraphed, climactic ending, and that works as well. It works phenomenally, in my opinion. I think both types of game structure are perfectly fine, and I notice that people don't have the expectation for every puzzle game. Is it because some of them are first-person and, therefore, are somehow like Portal and should do Portal things? Is it because some puzzle games are level-based, while others have more of an open world, which makes people want the world to be incorporated into the puzzle design? Whatever the case, I think it's a little unfair to criticise a game for not having a story and climactic ending when it never tried to have a story or hint at much of a climactic ending and was clearly trying to promote the experience as a whole.

Except The Witness doesn't do this. Jesse's right that the audio logs aren't really setting up a story as much as trying to reinforce themes, but the game is very clearly trying to pull a bait-and-switch by actually building up the journey to the bottom of the mountain for the entire game and then offering nothing for it. It so obviously wants to get you to reach the end and be frustrated that it didn't deliver on anything it was telegraphing, so it can then go "ah, but maybe that was the point" in as smug a tone as possible. It's like telling somebody "I'm coming over in an hour," them saying "okay," then when they ask where you are an hour later, saying "I was never coming over, and now you're a fool for being lulled into my charade! You shouldn't have expected that I would come over at all!" But the other person has absolutely no reason to not expect you'll come over, and the player has no reason not to expect something of importance at the location that is being visually coded as important for the entire game. And there isn't anything of real importance, it's just some more, slightly harder, puzzles, which end the game.

Personally, I had an inkling after awhile that the game wasn't going to try and tell me anything when I got inside the mountain. The puzzles are satisfying, and I thought the ground floor puzzle was a good final boss of mechanics, while the whole climb down the mountain felt like it was suitably upping the scale, but I never found myself expecting that whatever awaited at the bottom was going to resolve any questions I had. Partly that was because I had stopped asking questions. I figured that if it's a Jon Blow game, I should just play the game and enjoy the puzzles. Especially since it was clear that the game had no particularly unique message of its own, nor even an original take on the themes, instead just playing back things other people have said and leaving it at that.

So I agree with the general sentiment that it's a fine game as far as gameplay goes, but my issue with it isn't solely that that first ending was a poor payoff to the descent, rather that none of the stuff surrounding the puzzles is worth the time it takes to engage with it.

frozentreasure
Nov 13, 2012

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ManicVolcanic posted:

The panels with the impossible puzzles, I always saw them as a sort of timer. The change on the notes and measures of the song, so they sort of show where you're at in the song, and therefore how much time you have left. Maybe. I dunno.

I never saw them as a timer, though each layout is linked to a different note of a different instrument, and does change on the measures.

I'm assuming nobody is saying anything because they don't want to spoil it for the gang, but to be clear: people do know how to solve the walk-in maze, right?

Also, it would have helped the behind-the-scenes audio logs to be remotely believable if that one woman reader could come up with anything close to a natural speaking voice during the conversations.

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frozentreasure
Nov 13, 2012

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Yeah, front and centre in the credits, that's what's up.

(There's a second one under the shipwreck, too)

I don't remember and can't be bothered to check if I mentioned my issue with the "environmental puzzles". Aside from how everyone calls them "environmental puzzles" when I would sooner call places like Shady Trees, the Desert, some parts of Symmetry Peninsula, etc. environmental puzzles, as they are puzzles that incorporate the environment around them into the solution.

Anyway, my issue with what I call the "perspective puzzles" is how there are so many of them, many of them are found in similar batches and every single one is actually there. That is to say, there's never a red herring. If you ever see anything with any sort of curve to it, it is absolutely a perspective puzzle, every single time, it's never a coincidence, and at that point, most of the time, the puzzle is basically solved, barring a handful of seconds to wiggle around and find the exact right perspective. There are cool ones, like the ones in the Keep and those that incorporate the boat, and the layering of puzzles over each other, like on the shipwreck or in the jungle, is really well thought out, but there are so many of them that are little more than "shift over a few metres, there's another one".

Considering the obelisks exist, I don't see how it would have been an issue to have some fake ones sprinkled throughout, to make the player have to actually pay attention to the shapes on the obelisks and try to find the unique ones in each area. Especially since the game wanted to touch on the theme of obsession; that never hit me properly because I knew that every single time I saw a slight circular shape I wasn't just imagining it and obsessing over it. It might also be because I regularly engaged in that kind of shape and line play in the real world well, well before playing this game. Wouldn't it have made more sense to have fewer perspective puzzles in total, have the obelisks quickly confirm that you have gotten all or most of them, and then have fake ones that distract the player from maybe one or two really tricky ones per area?

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