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TheMcD
May 4, 2013

Monaca / Subject N 2024
---------
Despair will never let you down.
Malice will never disappoint you.





What's all this, then?

This is Return of the Obra Dinn, a puzzle game by Lucas Pope (of Papers, Please fame) that was released for PC/MAC in 2018 and Nintendo Switch, PS4 and Xbox One a year later. It has been met with critical acclaim and is notable for its "1-bit" graphical style inspired by early Macintosh games.

So what's this game about?

In 1803, the ship Obra Dinn, which had been en route to the Cape of Good Hope, goes missing. Five years later, it reappears in the waters outside the city of Falmouth, and the player, an insurance agent, is dispatched to the ship to find out what happened. They are also given a book and a pocketwatch by Henry Evans, the ship's surgeon, and are asked to fill in the fates of the sixty crew members and passengers. The pocketwatch will allow you to hear the last few moments before somebody died and see the exact moment of their death. Using only that information, you have to solve all the mysteries of the fate of the Obra Dinn.

Wasn't there already an LP of this?

Indeed there was, it's on the archive and everything. However, I have something different planned with this LP. The thing is that Obra Dinn very much encourages guessing in solving the fates. The way fates are validates in sets of three allows you to have two fates you're pretty certain in and then just guess for the third one until the game accepts. And towards the end, your options have diminished enough that just swapping names out will eventually lead you to the answer. Most people that play this game do something like this. I did it in my first playthrough, and so did the previous LP. Basically everybody does it in some way, since the game wants you to do it in some capacity.

However, the game does have evidence and clues galore which allow you to resolve all the fates without a single guess. That's what I want to demonstrate with this LP. No guessing will be allowed, and it will show off all the many different little details that many people miss.

But if you've already played this, how can you do that? You already know the answers.

That's where the magic of co-commentary comes in. Indeed, I will not be the one playing this game. Instead, I am tagging along with Nidoking, whom I have recruited to be the blind player. All things considered, I'm not the LPer here at all, Nidoking is, but I'm posting the stuff because otherwise he did basically everything here and it'll make me feel bad or something.

So anyway, Nidoking will be playing, I will be largely taking on the role of guidance and logic validation. If he thinks he's got an answer, I will require an explanation before I'll let him enter it in the game. This way, we will eventually get all the fates without a single guess.

Spoiler policy?

Now, given what kind of game this is, spoilers are basically inevitable. So I'm not going to go with the full "no spoilers ever, even under tags", but please keep things that haven't been seen yet under spoiler tags. To note, we have already finished all our recording sessions, so no worries about spoiling him and disrupting the blind playthrough, but for the sake of those watching along that haven't played this game yet, please exercise some discretion, OK?

Anything else?

A few side notes. One, this LP was absolutely plagued by technical issues. We had essentially three recording sessions, and three major technical issues interrupting them in some way, including right at the very beginning. So keep that in mind. Two, I have a big mouth that can't shut up. So in the name of keeping things moving, I end up going ahead and explaining things that Nidoking might have figured out, but probably not without frustrations. Note that these are largely technical/UI related things, not related to the puzzles. I'm just saying please don't yell at me.

Now, let's get going.









TheMcD fucked around with this message at 17:31 on Jan 22, 2022

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Malmesbury Monster
Nov 5, 2011



I'm really excited for this LP! I finished the game a few months ago and did my best not to guess, but ended up failing when it came time to identify the topmen among a few sundry others.

CirclMastr
Jul 4, 2010



I really wish this game had a color palette that wasn't eye-searing for me and my photophobia.

Nidoking
Jan 27, 2009

I fought the lava, and the lava won.


I kind of want to make a "What you need to know before playing Obra Dinn" video to stick at the start of the playlist to try to explain the mechanics I had to learn along the way without spoiling anything, then provide some general hints about the approaches I found most useful to interpreting the information provided. These are things like "If you see a name, occupation, or relationship in the dialogue, write it down before doing anything else" and "Make a good attempt to locate all of the people listed as 'present' in the scene before moving on - even if you can't identify all of them, keeping count of them means that you haven't missed anyone, and the ones who are harder to find usually mark where useful clues can be found." Another suggestion is "Don't go out of your way to fill in anything that's not really obvious - it's helpful to attach names to people so you can follow them through the story, but it's easier to interpret the information you have once you understand the overall story and what events have taken place." One of the most helpful things for me was knowing the total collection of information that was available - you'll probably notice me not stopping to think about things that would lead to answers because I want to see more scenes, hoping that they'll provide more obvious clues. Once I knew there were no more scenes, and what information I was missing at the end of it, I dedicated more time to examining them to figure out what I had missed.

There are some helpful tutorials in the game, but the one that tells you how to use the book in general never spontaneously pops up, and the rest tend to pop up when you engage with the mechanics they describe, which you have no reason to do before you've been told they exist. The ones you've seen and the general one can be seen by clicking the question mark icon, but I thought that might be a hint button, so I didn't click it. (Even the tutorials that are there aren't perfect - the bookmark tutorial didn't explain how they work because I clicked it when I only had one page filled in, but if you activate the tutorial from a person who has appeared in more than one memory, it has tabs at the top that will flip directly to those pages, making it easier to find those memories in order. It also puts a big icon over their sketch anywhere it appears so they stand out.) I think the game would benefit from a tutorial that presents a very basic scene and lets you fill in the information about it, just to let you get used to using the book before adding the complexities of interpreting the scenes in the game proper.

I also think the game is best approached as a story told through a unique interface rather than as a game. The gameplay portion is really more like an open-book quiz at the end to make sure you were paying attention and have understood everything there is to be understood. It's possible to completely miss the thread of what's happening as you try to work out identities and fates, and you're missing the bulk of what the game has to offer if you do.

Nidoking fucked around with this message at 20:00 on Nov 27, 2021

Sjonkel
Jan 31, 2012


This was very enjoyable, looking forward to the continuation!

Leraika
Jun 14, 2015

slime time



Oh man, I saw a bit of this game and was super excited to see where it went but it was a little harsh on my eyes to actually play. I'll be following this with interest.

Rocket Baby Dolls
Mar 3, 2006

Normally I don't make aesthetic criticisms in other peoples' homes, but that rug looks like a beaver exploded. If meat is murder, then that rug is at least a severe beating.

I was thinking about this game only a couple of days ago and was thinking that I should check out an LP and now this has popped up. I enjoyed the LP that Nidoking did of the Goblins series, especially with a guest so this will fit right in.

Notices the playlist is already nine videos long with only one currently public

Papers, Please will always hold a special place in my heart It was the game that broke my LP virginity. Return Of The Obra Dinn is a game that I've always been meaning to play at some point but I haven't had the appeal to do so as I did with Papers, Please. I have a lot of respect for Lucas Pope.

Mraagvpeine
Nov 4, 2014

I won this avatar on a technicality this thick.

It says a lot where someone makes a game that doesn't need any patches or adds new content down the line (unless I missed that about Papers Please and Obra Dinn).

Rocket Baby Dolls
Mar 3, 2006

Normally I don't make aesthetic criticisms in other peoples' homes, but that rug looks like a beaver exploded. If meat is murder, then that rug is at least a severe beating.

Mraagvpeine posted:

It says a lot where someone makes a game that doesn't need any patches or adds new content down the line (unless I missed that about Papers Please and Obra Dinn).

https://papersplease.fandom.com/wiki/Version_history
https://obradinn.fandom.com/wiki/Version_history

Both games were patched continuously without further content being added to their initial release.

ChaosStar0
Apr 6, 2021


I love this game and watching people play it blind, though sometimes they do get hair pulling frustrating. Glad this is being done because this is a game I will never play due to already knowing the answers, so the fun for me is watching others figure it out.

stryth
Apr 7, 2018

Got bread?
GIVE BREADS!


I know it was a joke, but the end of the video nearly made my heart stop, my computer has been having one too many of those issues lately.

cant cook creole bream
Aug 15, 2011
I think Fahrenheit is better for weather


I've watched like three different LPs of this game. One of them within the last week.

But all of them were a bit guessy, so I'm down for this!

logger
Jun 28, 2008

...and in what manner the Ancyent Marinere came back to his own Country.

Soiled Meat

The best feeling is coming back to this game at a later time after finishing it with guessing and then actually exploring to find all the clues. When things just start to click and you found that one last piece of info missed in an earlier playthrough it feels so satisfying.

TheMcD
May 4, 2013

Monaca / Subject N 2024
---------
Despair will never let you down.
Malice will never disappoint you.



Rocket Baby Dolls posted:

Notices the playlist is already nine videos long with only one currently public

Yeah, basically, we've been working on this LP ever since the middle of September. Since keeping Nidoking unspoiled was a big part of it, we finished up all the recording sessions in advance so he could read the thread safely as well without having to wonder about the minefield that is spoiler tags.

Cloacamazing!
Apr 18, 2018


Does the game give you false positves for the unblur mechanic? For example, if you had decided that the first mate was the one who shot the first corpse, would the captain's profile still have unblurred?

TheMcD
May 4, 2013

Monaca / Subject N 2024
---------
Despair will never let you down.
Malice will never disappoint you.



Cloacamazing! posted:

Does the game give you false positves for the unblur mechanic? For example, if you had decided that the first mate was the one who shot the first corpse, would the captain's profile still have unblurred?

As far as I understand it, the unblurring simply works by unblurring after you have visited scenes X, Y and Z. After you've visited whatever scenes are determined to be the ones you need to figure out the correct answer, that face will unblur on the sketch.

Nidoking
Jan 27, 2009

I fought the lava, and the lava won.


cant cook creole bream posted:

I've watched like three different LPs of this game. One of them within the last week.

But all of them were a bit guessy, so I'm down for this!

I think I've watched about seven and a quarter - one of them live, and I'm about half done with one in Japanese. Three-quarters is because I haven't watched the final video of one where the players are pretty explicitly just guessing randomly or looking up the answers because they want to finish. I don't halfway take an interest in things.

Cloacamazing! posted:

Does the game give you false positves for the unblur mechanic? For example, if you had decided that the first mate was the one who shot the first corpse, would the captain's profile still have unblurred?

The only way that the game uses any of the information you enter in the book with unblurring is that if you correctly identify someone who's blurred, and it's confirmed, it'll unblur them immediately. Otherwise, it's just a case of whether the scenes you've visited collectively contain, somewhere in them, enough information to determine that person's identity using the intended logic. As I've replayed the game and watched other people play, I've seen some unblurs that I don't really agree with, but we haven't seen any of those yet in the LP. It feels pretty arbitrary - the same indication might give you three people's identities, but is only considered sufficient for one of those people. And there's at least one where you have to see the person's death, even though the scene doesn't add any new information. Heck, you can reach a point where there's precisely one person still blurred. That's mathematically impossible. In any case, entering incorrect information has no effect at all on what the game thinks you should know. The Captain was unblurred because the situation made it very clear that he was the Captain - he was the one being shouted at, and he came out of the Captain's Quarters, where the mutineers were trying to break in. Also, he looks like Captain Crunch before he invented cereal.

cant cook creole bream
Aug 15, 2011
I think Fahrenheit is better for weather


Nidoking posted:

The Captain was unblurred because the situation made it very clear that he was the Captain - he was the one being shouted at, and he came out of the Captain's Quarters, where the mutineers were trying to break in. Also, he looks like Captain Crunch before he invented cereal.

The way to identify the captain is clearly to listen to his suicide message where he calls Abigial (Witterel) his love. Of course it might have been an onesided crush on the wife's boss, but all other reasonings are purely circumstantial too.

Was it normal for captains to bring their wives on board? Seems like a cause for dispute.

Nidoking
Jan 27, 2009

I fought the lava, and the lava won.


cant cook creole bream posted:

The way to identify the captain is clearly to listen to his suicide message where he calls Abigial (Witterel) his love.

The picture is unblurred after the first scene, though, long before that message is available. There's plenty of redundant information in the game, which is great for getting extra confirmation before you put things in the book, but the game has its own metric. Like I said, I don't always agree with it, but even I knew that was the Captain from the first scene.

anilEhilated
Feb 17, 2014

But I say fuck the rain.



Grimey Drawer

Love seeing this LP'd, I gave up on the game after being frustrated by the interface one time too many and it always seemed intriguing.

VictualSquid
Feb 29, 2012

Gently enveloping the target with indiscriminate love.


cant cook creole bream posted:

The way to identify the captain is clearly to listen to his suicide message where he calls Abigial (Witterel) his love. Of course it might have been an onesided crush on the wife's boss, but all other reasonings are purely circumstantial too.

Was it normal for captains to bring their wives on board? Seems like a cause for dispute.
No, the game is very consistent with locations. The person you see alone in the captain's quarters is the captain. If you see a person be alone in a place associated with a role the unblurring mechanic assumes that you know that the person has the role.

Asehujiko
Apr 6, 2011


cant cook creole bream posted:

Was it normal for captains to bring their wives on board? Seems like a cause for dispute.
Not a very common thing and I don't think the game ever goes into it but my personal theory is that the captain might be moving to somewhere in east asia and thus be bringing along the rest of his household.

I brought my Drake
Jul 10, 2014

These high-G injections have some serious side effects after pulling so many jumps.



I wonder if it's different because it's the East India Company as opposed to a country's navy. Could the Obra Dinn be a privately owned ship? Did the East India company just contract with the Obra Dinn and crew to run cargo and they took other contracts that happened to be passengers?

Namtab
Feb 22, 2010

Karen has always been powerful


It would have been unusual for even a captain or other high ranking officer to bring his wife on board as the EIC preferred that they focus on their work.

Namtab fucked around with this message at 23:20 on Nov 28, 2021

Ibblebibble
Nov 12, 2013




I think my favourite blur is the helmsman being unblurred from minute 1 because in the picture he has his hand on the wheel.

cant cook creole bream
Aug 15, 2011
I think Fahrenheit is better for weather


Ibblebibble posted:

I think my favourite blur is the helmsman being unblurred from minute 1 because in the picture he has his hand on the wheel.

I agree. Plus you don't really get additional hints for him.

Nidoking
Jan 27, 2009

I fought the lava, and the lava won.


cant cook creole bream posted:

I agree. Plus you don't really get additional hints for him.

We're only one video in. Give it time. There are plenty of hints for everyone.

Fat Samurai
Feb 16, 2011

To go quickly is foolish. To go slowly is prudent. Not to go; that is wisdom.


cant cook creole bream posted:

The way to identify the captain is clearly to listen to his suicide message where he calls Abigial (Witterel) his love. Of course it might have been an onesided crush on the wife's boss, but all other reasonings are purely circumstantial too.

Was it normal for captains to bring their wives on board? Seems like a cause for dispute.

The way to identify the captain is the fancy hat.

Enjoying this so far. Keep up the good work.

fractalairduct
Sep 26, 2015

I, Giorno Giovanna, have a dream!



VictualSquid posted:

No, the game is very consistent with locations. The person you see alone in the captain's quarters is the captain. If you see a person be alone in a place associated with a role the unblurring mechanic assumes that you know that the person has the role.

As a very good review of this game said (contains spoilers, obviously!), Obra Dinn is a game about induction, not deduction. You're putting together the information about the setting and the characters from what you can observe, but you have to make inferences from context - there's very rarely a way to be 100% certain about anything.

cant cook creole bream
Aug 15, 2011
I think Fahrenheit is better for weather


I guess, you can never be sure about anything in life either. If the game was trying to be mean it could have a scene where the whole room addresses a person as A, but that's actually B. It turns out the whole crew hates those guys and they purposefully mix up their names to annoy them. Also they gave him a nametag to bully him.

Tenebrais
Sep 2, 2011



cant cook creole bream posted:

I guess, you can never be sure about anything in life either. If the game was trying to be mean it could have a scene where the whole room addresses a person as A, but that's actually B. It turns out the whole crew hates those guys and they purposefully mix up their names to annoy them. Also they gave him a nametag to bully him.

This first video was fun for that kind of thinking. Okay, this guy someone was calling Captain had locked himself in the Captain's cabin, and is in a picture wearing the Captain's hat and Captain's coat, but is that proof he's the Captain?

Falconier111
Jul 18, 2012

S T A R M E T A L C A S T E

My only previous exposure to Obra Dinn was watching a Zero Punctuation review, which consisted almost entirely of :hawaaaafap:. Eager to see how it turns out.

fractalairduct
Sep 26, 2015

I, Giorno Giovanna, have a dream!



Tenebrais posted:

This first video was fun for that kind of thinking. Okay, this guy someone was calling Captain had locked himself in the Captain's cabin, and is in a picture wearing the Captain's hat and Captain's coat, but is that proof he's the Captain?

To give an example of the kind mentioned in the review I linked, what if Robert Witterel had died much earlier, and someone else had taken up the role and title of Captain since then? You can assume that it's the same person as the one in the picture, but how do you know when that picture was drawn?

I also agree with Nidoking that the game sometimes unblurs people at times that don't make sense. The best/worst example of this, in my opinion, is that the game expects you to be able to identify Maba, the crew member from Papua New Guinea, as soon as you see him. Presumably this is because you can identify his nationality from his chest tattoos - except that those aren't the kind of tattoos that a Papua New Guinean would have. If anything, he looks like an ancient Celt.

Nidoking
Jan 27, 2009

I fought the lava, and the lava won.


Like I said in the video, I was perhaps a bit TOO prepared to be misled, having approached the game from an Ace Attorney mindset. There's a vast gulf between games where you have to find truth among lies and this game, where the challenge is in finding the information at all, and interpreting it at face value is the +C on the integral. There are some details where I'll never be completely convinced, but once I understood that the game was trying to lead me to the right answers, I stopped questioning everything as much. It's a bit like switching from the competitive version of a hidden information game to the co-op version. It's hard to get used to trusting the information you get.

TheMcD
May 4, 2013

Monaca / Subject N 2024
---------
Despair will never let you down.
Malice will never disappoint you.



fractalairduct posted:

I also agree with Nidoking that the game sometimes unblurs people at times that don't make sense. The best/worst example of this, in my opinion, is that the game expects you to be able to identify Maba, the crew member from Papua New Guinea, as soon as you see him. Presumably this is because you can identify his nationality from his chest tattoos - except that those aren't the kind of tattoos that a Papua New Guinean would have. If anything, he looks like an ancient Celt.

I now feel reminded of my first playthrough, where I immediately identified him as Timothy Butement, the Scottish topman, precisely because of that unblurring and that same conclusion that those tattoos looked Celtic to me.

Bragon
Apr 7, 2010



TheMcD posted:

As far as I understand it, the unblurring simply works by unblurring after you have visited scenes X, Y and Z. After you've visited whatever scenes are determined to be the ones you need to figure out the correct answer, that face will unblur on the sketch.

I did a play of this game with my roommate, in a pretty similar way to this format, and one of the things I did to prepare myself was study the logical triggers for face unblurring. That involved 2-3 quick playthroughs of playing chapters in different orders, and recording when faces unblur on each path. Some of what I found was pretty interesting!

Specifically, it's not just X Y and Z, it can be X or Y, or X and (Y or Z). etc. For example with the First Mate, you can skip chapter 10-4 and go right into chapter 9. If you do so, you miss the first mate's ID in the captain's monologue, but he unblurs anyways after chapter 9-1 when you see him walking out of the First Mate's cabin.

Looking forward to this LP! I love this game but have never seen a stream / LP that wasn't full of guessing. So this will be rad.

cant cook creole bream
Aug 15, 2011
I think Fahrenheit is better for weather


So, roughly how often are you planning to update? You guys are great and I want more!

TheMcD
May 4, 2013

Monaca / Subject N 2024
---------
Despair will never let you down.
Malice will never disappoint you.



cant cook creole bream posted:

So, roughly how often are you planning to update? You guys are great and I want more!

Weekly, every Saturday roughly at the same time as I posted the thread.

Asehujiko
Apr 6, 2011


TheMcD posted:

I now feel reminded of my first playthrough, where I immediately identified him as Timothy Butement, the Scottish topman, precisely because of that unblurring and that same conclusion that those tattoos looked Celtic to me.

I did a similar thing, I got to the scene that shows all the topmen on the rigging and reasoned that the guy with the giant triskellion on his chest HAD to be Butement, the only Scottish topman. I had previous been misidentifying him as Charles Miner, based on the fourth mate telling the bosun that his frenchman was torn apart and the only person to die that way on screen was Maba.

Speaking of Charles Miner, the black & white really didn't do his identification process any favours because the primary means of doing so is noticing that he's wearing a French marinière, which is blue.

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Quackles
Aug 11, 2018

Pixels of Light.




fractalairduct posted:

I also agree with Nidoking that the game sometimes unblurs people at times that don't make sense. The best/worst example of this, in my opinion, is that the game expects you to be able to identify Maba, the crew member from Papua New Guinea, as soon as you see him. Presumably this is because you can identify his nationality from his chest tattoos - except that those aren't the kind of tattoos that a Papua New Guinean would have. If anything, he looks like an ancient Celt.

I made this exact mistake during my own playthrough.

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