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<  The Path - discussion  ~  To score or not to score?

Do you like the score screen?

Yes. Keep it.  
64%
  [ 59 ]  64%
 
No. Remove it.  
35%
  [ 33 ]  35%
 

Total Votes : 92
Michael
Posted: Wed Apr 01, 2009 11:11 am Reply with quote
Site Administrator Joined: 07 Jun 2002 Posts: 8065 Location: Gent, Belgium
Thank you for your interesting thoughts.

To summarize, so far, it feels to me that most of us agree that simply removing the score screen wouldn't work. Some of us want to keep the score screen or modify it. Others want to replace it with another scene that tells the player that they have failed (though a scene as explicit as the one described by Xanadu seems a bit out of place to me).

Keeping the score screen for the sake of information about things to find isn't really an option because it is rather unfair and probably more frustrating than it should be. Plus you have your basket for reference.
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Ricardo
Posted: Wed Apr 01, 2009 6:54 pm Reply with quote
Joined: 30 Mar 2009 Posts: 36 Location: Liverpool
In my opinion, to go straight away to grandma's house is not exactly a "fail"... I mean, the girls have not a mission, apart for "go to grandma's house", you can not consider it as a fail, as you can not consider to meet the wolf as a "mission".

Due this point, I think that you should not "punish" the player with any kind of negative message. instead of this, you should let the players know that there is something else, out of the path.

The text that I quote before is perfect for this objetive. Let me quote it again.

Quote:
The teenagers are instructed to go to grandmother's house deep in the forest and, by all means, to stay on the path! Wolves are hiding in the woods, just waiting for little girls to stray.

But young women are not exactly known for their obedience, are they? Will they be able to resist the tempations of the forest?


The problem is that probably many players will not read this text before play, and the only thing they will have is that two lines displayed on screen at the beggining:

-Go to Grandmother’s House
-Stay on the path

I have two options for this:

-Add a thirth line, suggesting in some way that you can break the rules. Something like "Will you be obedient?"

-Second option. Place a flower out of the path, at the beggining of the way. That shining twinkle will catch the attention of every player, close enough to see it easyly, far enough to make the player go into the woods.

I did a similar experiment than Enny with my housemate, a old classic gamer. What he did was the same than Enny's brother, run straight away to the house. And I mean run, not walk, even if he can not see anything running, he choose this just because he is not the right person for this game. Is that simple, this is not a game problem, is a player problem, due this game is not a traditional game for everybody, just some people will understand it and enjoy it, many others will missunderstand the point of the game and they will find it boring. But this is normal. In Spain we use to say: "Honey was not made for the donkey"...
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redmech78
Posted: Wed Apr 01, 2009 10:59 pm Reply with quote
Joined: 22 Mar 2009 Posts: 43
Quote:
In my opinion, to go straight away to grandma's house is not exactly a "fail"


That depends on how you look at it. One thing that struck me the very first time I played The Path and walked straight to GMH was how two particular quotes surfaced in my memory:

Frank Herbert wrote:
"Any road followed precisely to its end leads precisely nowhere."

Frank Herbert wrote:
"And always, he fought the temptation to choose a clear, safe course, warning 'That path leads ever down into stagnation.'"

I'd like to think that the "point" (insofar as there can be a point) of going straight to GMH being considered a failure is that the player has chosen the safe path. The everyday path. Yes, you live... but you don't really live. You've done exactly as you've been instructed to do and you carried out your orders like an unthinking robot.

Breaking away from the safe path steers you away from that utter stagnation. You've started thinking for yourself and you've broken away from the routine and mundane. However, this is a double-edged sword: in that unpredictable newness of veering off of the safe path, there is danger, and sometimes that danger may be lurking right behind the thing that you desire most. You may attain this thing, and thus "win," but it may not end up a victory that you'd savor.
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Emriss
Posted: Wed Apr 01, 2009 11:24 pm Reply with quote
Joined: 23 Sep 2007 Posts: 612
Snatcher42 wrote:
...make the map feature available from the start, to give some indication that there's stuff out there beyond the path?


I dunno...correct me if I'm wrong, but I actually don't know if the map shows where you walk on the path, and just starts logging once you enter the forest. On my first run, I expected the path to be longer than it was, so I ran straight ahead until Grandmother's House came into view. But later in that same run, when the map came up, there weren't any straight lines spanning the thing indicating where I'd run straight through. Just zigzags where I'd been dashing randomly about.

I'm with Xanadu on this one. Flows much better with the game.
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Mr. Underhill
Posted: Wed Apr 01, 2009 11:36 pm Reply with quote
Joined: 01 Apr 2009 Posts: 18
My opinion concerning the score screen is the following:

It may or may not be a nice, ironic joke; both cases would not really matter to me.
What I dislike about it is that The Path is not a strictly coherent, but all in all harmonious game. Hints can lead you either the right, the wrong or the way to nowhere. The score screen is the only thing which does not quite fit into the pattern. It is not about collecting and rewarding, it is about discovery.
To me, the scoring destroys a lot of this wonderful game. Discussing, whether allover A ranks are possible, complaining about no rewards for all the flowers etc.
I feel a certain solemness when playing this game, which is erased by all this surgical analysis.

What about the "failure" notice?
The message says: "Stay on the path".
If we do so, we end up the most boring and confusing way: sending six girls, one after the other, to their grandmother's house - and that's it?
Honestly, who would leave it to that because he was not told that he "failed"?


I do not think anyone who plays The Path has to get instructed this way. It is obvious that there has to be more in this game.
We are child enough not to stick to the path, at least at the second or third time.


I do not think anyone needs to be told that there is a world beside the path.
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Emriss
Posted: Thu Apr 02, 2009 3:10 am Reply with quote
Joined: 23 Sep 2007 Posts: 612
Mr. Underhill: If you haven't already, I'd reccomend playing The Graveyard (no need to buy the full version to get the gist of the game), a previous project of ToT. In a way, it too is a path with a goal (I use the term loosely) at the end. People who've played that probably wouldn't put it past ToT to design something with such a similar concept.

At the same time though, I can see where you're coming from. Those who wrote about The Graveyard (including that blurb from our own Halowii Razz ) would often mention how, if you tried to leave the primary path, the camera would remain where it was so you couldn't see your character. Still, that means they atleast tried to venture out...but then again, they were for the most part experienced game reviewers who'd try such a thing....Gah, I've caught myself in a loop between the evidence of people's tendancy to try and defy the game, and the fact that there certainly are those with, er, a more one-track mind.

Oooh, on a different note: Another idea for luring (sp?) players off the path without the use of a scorecard. Perhaps you could make it so the GiW dashes up to the edge of the path, gestures at the Girl, and then runs back into the forest. If she kept doing it, they'd probably get the idea eventually.
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Chikazz
Posted: Thu Apr 02, 2009 3:43 am Reply with quote
Joined: 03 Feb 2009 Posts: 45
I dunno, Emriss, seems to me, she (GIW) likes to lead you out of the forest, not lure you into it. But that's just my view.
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Emriss
Posted: Thu Apr 02, 2009 4:36 am Reply with quote
Joined: 23 Sep 2007 Posts: 612
Chikazz wrote:
I dunno, Emriss, seems to me, she (GIW) likes to lead you out of the forest, not lure you into it. But that's just my view.


She does do the taking-your-hand routine, but if you follow her as she's running along, apparently without any regard for leading you anywhere, she'll often end up showing you to some object or another.
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Chikazz
Posted: Thu Apr 02, 2009 5:17 am Reply with quote
Joined: 03 Feb 2009 Posts: 45
That would be more passive, then. Maybe they should just have her run across the path from one side to the other, as if she can't see you. That would be more passive on her part, yet still tempt people into the forest, in the same way that you can follow her to different locations.

*a note on why I keep commenting on these ideas* I love several of them, and though I still, at the core, feel that entirely removing the score screen wouldn't have the same impact, it would be possible to get new players through the game without it, and if we're going to be discussing alternatives, well, some of these ideas are fascinating ^_~
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Snatcher42
Posted: Thu Apr 02, 2009 10:32 am Reply with quote
Joined: 01 Apr 2009 Posts: 14
Speaking of things to maybe remove, how about having the opening credits only play for the first girl you pick, and not subsequent ones? I know you can skip it, but it still breaks up the experience. Unless that's the intention?
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Mr. Underhill
Posted: Thu Apr 02, 2009 11:18 am Reply with quote
Joined: 01 Apr 2009 Posts: 18
When playing the first time (with Ruby), I had to draw her back fom the forest, because she started interacting with one of the birds and ran towards the trees. I was afraid somthing bad would happen, but why not let the girls chase after these birds when letting them interact?

Of course, you would have to stop and and take a break, leaving the keys or gamepad untouched. But it would be the same with the GiW, except that a GiW on the path would lose every eerie aspect, compared to seeing he wandering among the forest trees.

I am against broad changes in the gameplay of The Path that would make the game "easier", "more comfortable" or "less annoying".
This game demands a certain attention and patience from the player, it should not be changed in a sense, that would make The Path more conventional, in favour of those who are not ready to get into it.
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Michael
Posted: Fri Apr 03, 2009 10:24 am Reply with quote
Site Administrator Joined: 07 Jun 2002 Posts: 8065 Location: Gent, Belgium
With The Path, we tried, for the first time, to make a game that appeals to as wide and diverse an audience as possible within our artistic vision. As a direct result, every player will find elements in the game that they don't like. Because they have been put in for another type of player. The score screen seems to be one of these elements: it is helpful for some and annoying for others. The idealist in me says "remove everything that does not fit" but I know that this would make the game harder/less appealing for some players. (Even if they don't know it themselves! -which is a very important point that we have discovered during our play tests: the things that some players wish for are exactly the things that ruin the game for them!...)
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Mr. Underhill
Posted: Fri Apr 03, 2009 1:03 pm Reply with quote
Joined: 01 Apr 2009 Posts: 18
But where's the sense in changing an already complete game to please some of the gamers?
Okay, you could have it in mind for the next project, but patching elements away that are disliked by some?

I understand your wish to make The Path an interessant and appealing for a broad audience, which is also in your financial interest, since you cannot wish to also pay for it in the end.

In my opinion, however, art can never be discussed. Of course, you could say: I like this, but I dislike that, but no-one except the artist him/herself has the right to change an artwork. Art is not a democartic issue. It is the expression of its creator and his or her view on the world, not a general agreement on what we all find the most entertaining.
If this was your intension, you could as well make conventional games.

I like your idea of creating something new, something that demands completely different thing from the gamer. Of course, it's hard to make a living from difficult art.
But keep in mind that the concepts we today are conventional all have their origins in art, people then called "too difficult", art that demanded more attention and and a more open mind than they were willing to afford.
Rock music, expressionism, Bauhaus architecture and so on. They all found their way into acceptance and replaced forms that were more conservative, common or suddenly boring, because they had nothing to say.
Because someone, who only speaks of the things people want to hear, has nothing to say.


Of course, it's on you, what you want to do with your Game. But I think, you have the right to do things your way, and there will always be people who are ready to explore new grounds. You can never convince everyone.
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Ricardo
Posted: Fri Apr 03, 2009 4:11 pm Reply with quote
Joined: 30 Mar 2009 Posts: 36 Location: Liverpool
Mr. Underhill wrote:
...

Very good message. I agree with you.
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djkid
Posted: Sat Apr 04, 2009 7:20 am Reply with quote
Joined: 04 Apr 2009 Posts: 13
When I first started the game, I didn't have ANYTHING. A friend told me to get it, as it was a cheap and creepy game. Totally my thing. So I start off being told to go to grandma's house and stay on the path. Well of course I'm going to stay on the path! It's scary out there! Why would I even want to go out there? Then I reach the end and am told I failed. So I called up my friend and asked what the hell I was supposed to do and she tells me, "The point of the game is to die. There's graveyards and all kinds of shit out in that forest."

I think a simple "Game Over" screen would get the point across, as opposed to an unnecessary scorecard. The only thing I watch the scorecard for is to see if I've unlocked all of the hidden rooms.

Simply put, without motivation or some kind of direction, there is no way I'm going to know that it's even possible to go off of the path.
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