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StrangeBean

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  1. As a separate note, I'm reminded of the train scene from Wolfenstein: The New Order, as an example of the type of non-violent tension that I'm talking about. It's extremely scripted, but the player's experience is similar to what I described. The enemy is suspicious, but has no reason to immediately resort to violence. The player has the choice to either engage or not (though, the second option leads to death). The engagement activity is inherently meaningless, but the point isn't for the player to be doing something important; the point is that they are trying not to draw attention to themselves, especially since the threat of violence is looming over them (armed soldiers, a giant robot), as well as being an additional option for the player to instigate (the reminder being the gun on the table). As the scene drags on, the player's uncertainty as to whether or not the situation will end in their identity being discovered is constantly played at. Hopefully that helps the huge amount of text make some sense.
  2. Currently, the only mechanic in terms of 'engagement' a player has is the greet button. It only works at close range, and does the same thing every time, becoming ineffective once discovered. It's also not very interesting; wandering down the street and pressing E occasionally is definitely more than most games do, but I feel like it needs to broadened considerably before it contributes to this feeling of paranoia that the game is trying to cultivate. To create tension, the danger of a reveal should be as close as possible. Hitchcock's 'bomb under the table' quote comes to mind; here, the bomb is every Wellie that you pass in the street. Since at the moment, you aren't required to do more than press a button in their general direction, there isn't much in the way of that tension. For that, I would think the player needs to be sat next to the bomb, and forced to act like it's a distant relative at a Christmas party. Maybe someone you used to know invites you in for a cup of tea. Maybe someone spills a delivery crate, and needs assistance to pick it up. Bobbies performing a survey for potential Downers in the area. Small interactions that, if handled poorly (or even if handled at all) push the player closer to and eventually over that discovery point. That's even if the mechanics aren't expanded to accommodate this sort of gameplay; a simple dialogue system? Holding E to talk to someone for longer, which only works to a (variable) point? The point is that, as it is currently, only having a greet button means that a lot of potential isn't being explored, and I think it would be very beneficial for the game to do so. Expanding this stage of the gameplay leads to the player spending more time at risk of being discovered, meaning that they spend more time worrying about being discovered, meaning they spend more time being wary of the Wellies that they are forced to be around. This creates paranoia. It still works if the paranoia being referred to is that of the Wellies. Giving the player more of a chance to experience the Wellies can only help; they are, effectively, the face of the game, and being able to experience the suspicion, wariness, and gradual rage that they go through in the more recent PAX trailer would be a good way to fulfill that part of the game's description. When moving through the streets requires more attention, and brings a player closer to the risk of discovery, they are bound to start feeling eyes on them, especially if the transition towards openly attacking you is made more gradual than it is now. TL;DR - The best thing that could probably be done right now to bring the game more in line with the vision presented in the trailers is to expand the gameplay that takes place before a player is attacked, while they're interacting with the Wellies; that is, during the period in which they are not immediately hostile. That's about all I really have on that subject, so I'll cap this off with a few more notes, sort of scattered and not as complete as the rest. - The process of obtaining important items is kind of weird? As far as I can tell, you'd have to sort of hope you get stuff you can use, especially when those items can occasionally be stuff that is mandatory for progress. The PAX demo has a little bit of a solution in that you go to a specific encounter to get the thing you need, but I don't know how well that would carry over to having a bunch of encounters you can swap between. - On the subject of that encounter, why is there an apple tree in the supposedly abandoned, derelict garden district, still being protected by Bobbies? Do they venture over the bridges to collect food? Are the shipments going to be shown in-game? Will they ever have to fend off hungry Wastrels? - The ending encounter is also kind of awkward. Why are they all standing around in a cage with those electric pylons? They can't get through the Joy Detectors to chase me, and the pylon things don't do a very good job of killing them off, so my chosen method of getting rid of them involved awkwardly hopping back and forth through the Joy Detectors in a rubber suit until they finally died. I then either died of thirst, or completed the game, which showed the death newspaper anyway, so - Houses are better. After dealing with the people inside, one of whom escaped, I accidentally set off an alarm, and tried to hide in a room, then the Bobbies kicked down the door and killed me. Which is great. - After dying, I got the second chance thing, which I can't say I find appealing as a mechanic. It sort of cuts out a good deal of the menace of getting caught, and leaves you just in a very poor position, that you will probably die from anyway? I mean, as an occasional thing, maybe, but I don't see why the Bobbies would leave you alive, or an angry mob. If you're trying to make death less harsh, then perhaps it's framed as them imprisoning you in an attempt at rehabilitation? Or maybe, if the communication mechanics are expanded, a Wellie could take a sympathetic attitude, and leave you in the Garden District with a small amount of supplies? Or, since it's a roguelike, simply letting death be a reset. - During the apple tree encounter, I threw a rock at a Bobby from behind a wall. He didn't see me, but pretty much every nearby Wastrel ran over to that spot, and started attacking me when they saw me. They remained hostile whenever I attempted to attack the Bobby. Not 100% on what the deal was, there. Another attempt led me to find out that you can just run a short distance outside the area, and give up completely, failing to do much but talk to you unless they are in 'looking for a murderer' mode - The final encounter is also kind of awkward. You're basically entering the beating chamber, and it's not something I think you can really prepare for without prior knowledge of how to deal with it. - I also did not have a very difficult time killing the Bobbies to take their stuff, despite only having a stick. Not sure if this was another difficulty adjustment for showing it to the public, but I think that could use another look. - There are new items, which is alright. I don't quite understand how stuff like berserk bombs and that fit into the world, or how our only-recently not a downer protagonist can construct them, but that's not a major issue. I still feel like actually getting the higher end stuff is a less frequent reward for a lot of work. - Non-combat AI behaviors continue to be a problem, at least in terms of creating an immersive Wellington Wells. I know giving everyone stuff to do is a lot of work, but frankly, the idle street-wandering doesn't make for a very engaging backdrop. - That said, combat encounters are pretty decent. You get surrounded fairly quickly, and it's very tense and tiring. - I don't think I like the new need icons much. It's very modern, and doesn't fit the rest of the game's aesthetic so well. It wouldn't be too hard to weak it a little to make it fit; getting a little Saul Bass-y with it could help, maybe. I dunno, I'm barely a design student. - The ease of access to the flowers is alright, but I think the berries make not starving a little too easy. It might be wise to tone down these spawns, if you want to push people to take risks in order to survive. - The encounters in the build don't have a variety of solutions. You kind of have to kill stuff to get through them, which is not inherently terrible, but for a game with sneaking and (hopefully) engagement mechanics, leaves a bit to be desired, but this could also be less of an issue when there's a larger variety of encounters. That's about it, I think. Again, all just opinions from someone who hasn't made a game.
  3. I meant to make this post earlier, but I figured with the Early Access release coming up, it'd be a good idea to put this in sooner rather than later, especially considering that I mainly wanted to talk about the state of the game relative to the public perception. Apologies in advance for the post length, but I'd rather give an idea of exactly where I'm coming from. Here's my last post, for continuity. I'd like to preface all this by saying that I am absolutely not trying to have this be an indictment, or even a negative appraisal of the game. I understand completely that this is all a process, and what the game will end up being isn't necessarily better off for matching the promotional material exactly. I just wanted to spend a little time addressing what I think is the disparity between what's been presented in the trailers vs. what's in the game, as of right now. I think it's important to do this now, because the Early Access release is going to leave an impression on people looking to buy the game, and I feel like this impression isn't necessarily going to match up with what people expect. Not just for the usual Early Access reasons, but also because of this disparity. The quick description for the Kickstarter campaign describes We Happy Few as "A game of paranoia and survival, in a drugged-out, dystopian English city in 1964." Which is an awesome concept, drawing heavily from a lot of classic British fiction, and something that We Happy Few is definitely starting to reach. I wanted to focus primarily on the 'paranoia' side of things, so pretty much all of this text will be about that. Paranoia is not an easy thing to manage in video games, since that typically goes against the notion of empowerment that drives a lot of titles. The notion that everyone is out to get you is not uncommon, but the notion that everyone might be out to get you, something that is a lot more reflective of what we'd call paranoia, not so much. We know that Wellies hate Downers to the point of violence, and you play as a Downer, so it's their awareness of these facts that prevents the game from being a straight beat-em-up roguelike. This, I think, is the key part of We Happy Few's concept that has drawn people in; the notion that you might get found out. Getting caught is the climactic moment of both of the game's trailers, and in the game it does change things up radically, i.e. music change, different gameplay, etc. This more of an abstraction than anything, being a point at which the game shifts from one state to another. It's also treated as sort of an inevitability, but I'll get at that in a bit. As such, we can very broadly characterize the typical gameplay of We Happy Few to 'before' and 'after' getting caught. Since the moment of getting caught is based around the pretense of not being a Downer, the consequences of it (the 'after') are less relevant to the feeling of paranoia, as that pretense falls away. It's no longer a possibility that everyone is out to get you, it's a certainty. As such, I think this 'after' state doesn't fit the feeling of paranoia, and is a lot closer to aggression. This is, of course, a Very Good Thing, since paranoia cannot exist without a looming threat of consequence. However, paranoia requires more than just that threat in order to be fostered. Perhaps more important than the possibility that you will get attacked is the possibility that you will not. To be specific, paranoia cannot exist if there is certainty, even if the thing one is certain of is that they will face negative consequences. One of the advantages of making the game a roguelike is that it helps foster this uncertainty, while not necessarily making it feel as though you are being held back by the game. With the state of the game at the moment, the bulk of the gameplay is in the 'before', but the bulk of the mechanics have a stronger presence in the 'after'. This is not to say that there is more merit to the game as a first-person combat title, but rather that the player must make more decisions and react to more things in a combat situation than outside of one. In combat, there are a lot of factors to consider, especially in regards to location, available items, and the possibility of things quickly getting worse. The gameplay outside of that, the 'before', is broader, but lacking in depth; that is, the result of the decisions you can make typically don't vary much. It is also lacking in characteristics that would give it the feeling of paranoia that is present in the game's trailers. I think the primary reason for this is the very simplistic way in which a player can interact with the Wellies. The current ways you have to interact with Wellington Wells' constituents in the 'before' part of the game are currently limited to 'avoidance' (running away), 'engagement' (non-violent, influential action), or 'attack' (violent action). This is great, since most games don't even bother with engagement as a concept. It typically shows up in stealth games in the form of misdirection, or distraction (gameplay elements which would probably help We Happy Few as well, if they're not already in there). The only issue is that stealth games typically play more to that theme of empowerment the player is out of sight while they manipulate enemies. This means that the threat is lessened, along with the feeling of paranoia, since if things do go wrong, the player is already in a good position to slink away. As 'attack' typically leads to the 'after' part of the gameplay, I'll talk about that later, and focus on avoidance and engagement, and finally get to what is more or less the point of all this text. We Happy Few as a concept is in a very unique position to do a lot more with engagement than any other game I can think of. The premise is that you are hiding within a group of people who will kill you if they discover that you are not really one of them. This means that the player will be trying to avert discovery as much as possible, through the states of avoidance, engagement and attack. Currently, the mechanics don't make that a very large part of the game. Avoidance as a concept is not new to video games, but I personally feel like We Happy Few has a unique spin on it that is worth milking for everything it's worth. Like most stealth games, it is a preferred state, since it offers several advantages, including positioning and lowered chances of actively being attacked. However, the hunger/stamina/thirst mechanics mean that a character must approach populated areas to survive. It's not a state that the player can operate comfortably from; it is a baseline, and a retreat, but they must put themselves in a dangerous, non-avoidant situation eventually, or starve. It's got the potential to be very simple, almost instinctive, and highly, highly atmospheric. That's super rad. Engagement, or non-violent, influential action, is where the game needs work, and has the greatest chance to excel. Combat is dangerous, but since it comes after the moment of discovery, the threat changes entirely to that of being killed, thus cultivating panic and aggression instead. Avoidant gameplay changes the threat too, since your primary concern is not starving, which is much more long-term. It's only in this state of 'engagement' that you have both the threat (and immediate possibility) of discovery, and the ability to escape without being discovered. It's here where the player is brought to the edge of the discovery point, and left to linger. This is where the player's paranoia comes from. This is also one of the areas that games in general haven't really explored very much.
  4. Again, some other thoughts during gameplay. - Very pleased to see the building placement adjusted, and the alleys are looking great too. Running away is not nearly as easy now, though the feeling of being walled in is ruptured somewhat when you're wandering around the backs of houses. Almost feels like you're wandering behind a theatre backdrop, or something, which isn't necessarily a bad thing. - The beaches make the edges of the islands look much better. Could be an opportunity for gaudy rainbow umbrellas and beach chairs, too. - NPCs remain very easily distracted. If you talk to the Bobby who's knocking on the door in that scenario, he turns towards you and stays there. At least, he was still there every time I checked. - The map is much easier to read. - I gave food to one of the hungry Wastrels, and he wandered off muttering about food. I followed him, but then he turned around and started giving me the evil eye. Clearly they're not the grateful sort. - On the subject of Wastrels, they're still kind of jerks. It's very difficult to trust pretty much anything in their area, and I feel very much like I'm being chased out of it. This would be fine if I knew where I was going, but my games tend to start with awkwardly skirting the edges of the island until I find a bridge, so I have somewhere to retreat to. Maybe it's just me, but I don't feel like Wellington Wells is the sort of place I should be wanting to retreat to. - The game is running much nicer, even on what I vaguely recall being the highest graphics settings I could manage. - The Joy Maze thing was interesting. Like a lot of the joy-related obstacles, I'm not sure what incentive the player has to try and attempt them, nor do I see many alternatives, but I suspect that'll come later with more concrete objectives.
  5. I don't think I have as much to say as I did last time, but I figured I'd make another thread after some more playtime. A lot of the smaller things I talked about last time have been addressed, so I'm at a bit of a loss as far as actual obvious suggestions for changes go. The bulk of what I was thinking with my last couple of sessions was sort of an expansion of something I touched on before, that being the NPC behaviors. The improvements to the combat system make those types of encounter much more fun, which is nice, but most everything else is pretty lacking. Right now, I think it's primarily the lack of persistence that makes them seem less like characters and more like generic player-killing AI. As an example, I attacked and killed a pair of Wellies (both of whom were sweeping the front and back steps, respectively) in order to get into their house. Despite the fact that one was standing out the front of their house, with Wellies wandering the streets, only the two of them bothered to approach the area until I was long gone, and neither did anything but attempt to attack me until they were dead. This was on the grass, behind the house in question. After getting inside, I closed and locked both doors. I took the time to search the place, and eventually there was a Bobby outside who said a line about finding the person responsible, which made me a little worried, since I usually don't stick around in situations like this. However, I cleared the house, slept for a few hours, and was able to return to it frequently afterwards. If the Bobby was looking for the killer, they did not look very hard. This all left me with a lot of questions, I think, that I would definitely ask if this were a complete game. Again, I'm aware that it is a pre-alpha, but I figure that not sharing constructive (hopefully) feedback because of that isn't going to help much. Much of them are in-universe, but a thing I've found with a lot of the games I like is that they flesh out the world with the answers to questions like that, and said answers typically have a bearing on gameplay. I suppose the basic underlying theme for all of these questions is the events that surround a killing in Wellington Wells. - How much do Wellies care about other Wellies being killed? There seems to be mixed messages on this, which I doubt is intended. On the one hand, law enforcement does exist in Wellington Wells. They do respond to violent incidents, and are more capable than the average Wellie in terms of combat. If the voice line I heard is anything to go by, they also have an interest in ongoing investigations of incidents like these. The Wellies themselves also do not seem to like their fellow citizens being violenced upon, apparently only shying away from a fight if they've been wounded. (I have yet to see this behavior, but I also have yet to actually look for it.) On the other hand, however, the total lack of investigation into the murder suggests that they might not care that much at all. The Bobby wandered off, and after emerging from the house I ran into another (probably different) one just by the scene of the crime (which was, again, on the grass and well off the street). Nothing much came of that. The house was left completely empty from then on, as far as I could tell. As such, I felt like there was the distinct possibility the Wellies might not be so concerned about these things, especially when they're out of the way and not where one's supposed to be. It'd play very much into the themes of keeping up appearances at all costs; they've demonstrated the capacity to ignore violence before, such as the dead downer that occasionally shows up cordoned off by police. The suggestion that they'd pay no mind to the loss of a neighbor could work in that respect. That said, I feel like it'd work better for the gameplay if it was something Wellies became concerned about, given the fact that they only seem to ever worry about the possibility of Downers in their midst, something a murder would certainly point to. I mentioned that adding persistent danger to parts of the map that the player had already visited made it easier to remember, more interesting to retread and gives weight to the player's lack of caution. It seems like the unconfessed murder of a good citizen would be (or could easily be turned into) a sign that there are downers about. - What do Bobbies do, other than wander the streets and enforce curfew? Do they have patrol routes? Is there a police station? I imagine this sort of thing is to come, but broadening the activities of the populace of Wellington Wells, Bobbies included, would add considerable depth. An oppressive police presence means players can hopefully never be quite sure that they're safe enough to start a violent confrontation. I don't know if Wellies can bear witness to crimes taking place, but it could be interesting to see Bobbies interviewing Wellies in the area around a crime scene. - What happens to a now empty house? There's not enough information yet to suggest whether or not resources/housing are scarce, but it seems an odd notion for a group of people locked in the mindset of World War II-era England to not make good use of the resources available to them. Or, maybe it's another case of not wanting to recognize anything unhappy, to the point of being wasteful? Maybe a player can find an abandoned house, or take over one that isn't; though, this probably wouldn't be opted for very often if shelters are available. If a world that remembers the players actions is established, maybe systemic gameplay would make shelters gradually become harder to return to, leaving players to turn to houses for shelter instead. - How does Wellington Wells identify problematic elements? It seems, from what there is now, that the general idea is that citizens are tasked with weeding out potentially dangerous elements. However, in gameplay terms, this is limited to folks getting grumpy at you if you have a weapon, linger too much, or don't respond when addressed. This doesn't really address the broad spectrum of suspicious behavior that a player may engage in, though I've yet to see any game do that well. Maybe if the player makes too many public errors, their face is put up by Uncle Jack on the TV, drastic as it may be. - Can Bobbies really not open locked doors? I'm not sure if he just didn't try, but that seems more than a little abusable. I may be reading too much into a small interaction, but I found this all worth considering. One of the benefits video games have over other media is the ability for players to create their own stories, and given the system-based nature of what's been laid out so far in terms of gameplay, We Happy Few could definitely stand to expand on its NPC interactions to facilitate this.
  6. I feel like, as far as in-game navigation goes, the problem will largely resolve itself once more unique buildings are added to the game. More prominent buildings makes it a lot easier to get around, since you have easily recognizable structures to get your bearings with. It is good to hear that the map will be getting improvements, though.
  7. I hadn't considered the travel distance relative to the walking speed, but I feel like there are better ways to solve that issue than keeping the walking speed where it is. I think that reducing it adds a lot to the moment-to-moment gameplay, and reducing the short-term travel time makes a lot more sense for a slower-paced game about exploring and sneaking through a location like Wellington Wells. Long-distance travel has plenty of ways to be sped up; fast travel mechanics, a subway system, underground maintenance tunnels, the liberal use of Joy, and so on, you get the idea. Incidentally, I'm not sure where the notion of a time limit was confirmed, but I would like to voice some disagreement with the idea; currently, and traditionally in roguelikes (as I understand it), the main question players have to ask in regards to exploration is 'is it worth the risk'. Adding a time limit means that decision will pretty much always be 'no', especially since item generation is RNG dependent. If the point of such a limit is to create an overall degree of urgency, then I think it's far better to use the hunger/thirst/sleep mechanics. Progress is definitely a good thing to encourage, but there are ways to do that without cutting out players who would like to explore and take their time. Added to that, I've never seen putting a time limit on stealth done well. That doesn't mean it can't be done, just that I've never seen it.
  8. Your second point is mostly what I'm getting at; stealth as it is now is mostly about the player running and hiding, just because it's pretty much the best option at any given moment. What I think would be more fun is for the player to have the tools to remain in plain sight for longer, and for the challenge the game presents to involve using them in a more intelligent way. It's definitely possible to avoid the grannies, but I think the method you have to use to avoid angering them should be more about the 'social' part of things than the 'stealth', as with most of the NPCs. Anyone who's had to fend off elderly relatives at a family gathering knows that that's how it works anyway And as far as the Wastrels go, I definitely get the paranoia, but their dialogue and general positioning makes them seem a lot more concerned with their houses. It's not /that/ big of a deal, but it'd make a little more sense to me if they were primarily housebound. Might also make it a little easier to work as a starting area? Puts more of the focus on the Wellies, since you can get there with less interruption, and the starting area is a bit easier for new players, giving them an area to get some starting items before they head into the village.
  9. A few other things I thought during gameplay, largely related to visuals (I had the graphics set to low, so if any of those are fixed by the graphics being higher, then maybe ignore this. - It would be nice to see greater variety in the Wellies. Non-white Wellies would be cool, especially given that they seem a lot more concerned with nasty Downers than with good, patriotic, PoC Wellies. - The visual of the cliffs that the island end with is kind of distracting. I also don't see why the islands as a whole need to be so high up, but I don't know much about Britain. Or islands. - The whole exclamation mark thing on the map is a little unclear. It might be worth considering alternate options; maybe the player can mark points of interest on the map, with brief descriptions. Automatically using the same two icons for everything makes it a little difficult to differentiate between events that the player comes across. - I recall it being mentioned at some point that more buildings were going to be added; if more of these are going to be shops, like the butcher, I think anti-theft measures would be a good thing to look into. Maybe a currency system? I dunno, this is getting kinda beyond the scope of what I was hoping to talk about. - I'm not sure why the Wastrels are so immediately hostile? Like, I'm just going about my business, not inside their houses, and they're all giving me the evil eye. Maybe some kind of justification for this is necessary (my bad if it's there and I don't see it), or maybe tweaking it so they're only concerned with you when you're around their house zone. - The progression of the crafting mechanics (and getting the items for them) seem a little out of place for what is effectively not a very long distance/time to travel. - I can only play on Low settings if I want to get anywhere, despite having pretty solid hardware, but that's to be expected this early in development. - I tried going into the house that had an alarm going off and everything, but after walking into the garage(?) area, the light adjusted to be too dark to see anything, even outside the gate I'd walked through. - There are a lot of little goofs with world generation, collision, pathfinding and stuff like that. I'm sure there's been threads made about them already, and I could make another if the pictures would help. - I absolutely love the art style; even on the lowest graphics options, it very clearly shines through. I'm definitely looking forward to being able to play it with all the graphics maxed out and everything. - The voices sound perfect, especially Uncle Jack. Some kind of clip viewer could be cool when things are all finished up; maybe after observing a video in -game, you can watch it later in the main menu?
  10. Finally got the chance to play for a few hours, so I thought I'd post some initial thoughts on stuff so far. As kind of a disclaimer, I'm just a dude who likes stealth games a lot, so that's all the experience I really have about game design. The basic gist of what's to follow is that, it seems like there's a lack of focus in terms of what's meant to be challenging the player? For what is ostensibly a stealth game, it's very easy to disengage from encounters, even without any sort of forward thinking. I can definitely understand trying to avoid the player immediately dying to the first Wastrel they come across, but as it is there isn't really a lot of risk involved in taking on anything that isn't a Bobby. Your walk speed is fast enough to walk away from most encounters, even without using the generous amount of stamina. Getting between the buildings and breaking line of sight is easy, and it's only a short time before you're gone and they've forgotten anything happened. You usually don't even have to worry about being noticed by any other NPCs, since you can typically just run for a grassy area without buildings, where the NPCs do not typically go. In addition to this, it's easy enough to avoid encounters in the first place, since you move quickly enough to ignore yellow suspicion. The problem with all this, to me, is that it doesn't seem to match up with what the game seems to be trying for; i.e. a more stealthy, thoughtful experience, with a focus on blending in and survival. Right now a player doesn't really have to worry when engaging any group of NPCs, since they can just walk away. It seems like what would be preferred is a player questioning whether or not they can even go near that group, let alone walk past them? Something more tense and uncertain for the unprepared, but definitely doable for the careful player. (Any suggestions that follow are from somebody who has never made a game, so keep that in mind.) I think the concern with movement is easy enough to adjust; the default walk speed could be reduced, closer to that of NPCs. It's at action game speeds at the moment, and it seems to me like slowing it down would help with the aforementioned concern. First, it would mean the player has to rely more on their stamina to get away from enemies, meaning they have to be efficient and careful about escaping. That way a bad situation can be mitigated with careful use of the environment, but it's not as easy as it is now. For another, it also means that there's more danger involved in heading into highly populated areas. Attracting suspicion to yourself could prove more dangerous, since you can't leave quickly without attracting further suspicion. It also means that you have to pay more attention to NPCs trying to chat you up, since It might even make things feel more like you're trying to fit in, instead of just dodging around NPCs. What might also be worth considering with this is adding a 'brisk walk', or something similar; suspicion goes up a bit faster during it, but not as fast as when sprinting. Tap and hold shift once for briskly walking, tap twice and hold for sprinting? Probably a better way to handle that. The building placement is probably a bigger issue, and one I'm not sure I'm really qualified to talk about, but the main thing here to me is that you can pretty much just run between buildings whenever you like, and you will immediately be somewhere people aren't. For a game going for a dystopian, paranoid feel, this seems a little counter-intuitive? You don't really have to spend a lot of time on the streets at all, since you can jump into houses from the grassy space anyway. It's an especially prominent concern given the nature of the architecture; I've never been to Britian, but even in-game many of the houses look like they're meant to be fitting together into those rows of solid buildings a lot more than they are. That would lead me to believe this is something that's being worked on, but I figured I'd mention this in relation to my overall point anyway. If this is something changed later on in development, I think it'll add a lot of the sort of challenge the game's really looking to embrace, as well as giving a certain claustrophobic feeling to Wellington Wells as a whole. NPC behavior is harder to address. I think it's safe to say that at an end-user level, the AI is one of the biggest things about stealth games, if not video games in general. There's a lot to say on the subject, and I'm sure it's going to get brought up a lot, so I'll keep my thoughts brief. Mostly, it would help if they were more persistent, and more aware. Disengaging an encounter currently means the entire situation is reset to zero, which means it's typically the best option in any given situation. If a player engages with an NPC, and they have a way to make the situation worse in the long-term, i.e. more Bobby patrols in the area, then that demands more preparation and quick thinking from the player. A way to give longer-lasting repercussions to encounters that aren't kept quiet would add a lot to the game, I think. Aside from making things more challenging in the long-term, it also gives players a feel for the space they're in. They may find locations more memorable if they know to avoid them, since the NPCs in the area are more alert, or something like that. As an aside, I think it would help some if the NPCs had things were doing; even the ones who do have that, like the Bobbies that were standing guard outside a hatch, didn't bother sticking to it, and it was left unguarded after I (completely intentionally) lured them away. Additionally, the current state of defusing situations with social stealth doesn't seem to quite match up with the challenge the game suggests. I've enjoyed what I've played so far, but I do feel like it could be expanded, and greatly. I'm assuming this is to come, but I figured I'd use this as an opportunity to share some thoughts on it anyway. The grannies are kind of an issue at the moment; you basically have to avoid them entirely, or they very quickly ruin any stealth you were attempting. I can understand that being something appealing, but I feel like the tension in social stealth is better gained from being forced into plain sight for an extended period of time. The grannies force you back into the not-street zone, which kind of goes against what it seems like the game's going for? I feel like there's more social challenges that could be involved here, at the very least. Like, maybe instead of just spotting you right away, they might demand your attention, and you have to stand there and hold conversation for a little bit, or they get upset and suspect you of being a Downer? Or, maybe if an instant-detection NPC is something that is particularly wanted, maybe it's best to frame it as something other than a happy citizen of Wellington Wells, since it may be more clear if the player can quickly distinguish something they absolutely have to avoid from something they can socialize with, as well as making their arrival more distinctly shocking. Either way, I think adding more things for a player to consider and do when in social stealth situations would probably help a lot with the sort of challenge things are aimed at. I think that's pretty much my main point, so far. The challenge doesn't seem to really come from where one would expect, I suppose. It's entirely possible I just have the wrong idea of what the game's intended to aim towards. I'm new to the whole Kickstarter thing, so this is just my thoughts from playing the game for the few hours I have typed in a long multi-paragraph ramble because that's the only way I know how to talk about video games.
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