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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: Sat Apr 04, 2009 9:47 am Reply with quote
Site Administrator Joined: 07 Jun 2002 Posts: 8065 Location: Gent, Belgium
djkid wrote:
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.

Somehow, the artist in me doesn't find this a problem. If your heart tells you to stay on the path, then that's what you should do. I'm willing to bet that even without direction, after some days of thinking it over, you would collect your courage and venture into the woods after all.

The concept of deception is an important element on The Path's narrative (as it was in the fairy tale). The fact that the game lies to you is part of the experience. It's interesting that most people accept this when it comes to the command "stay on the path" but not when it comes to the evaluation "failure".
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redmech78
Posted: Sun Apr 05, 2009 1:48 am Reply with quote
Joined: 22 Mar 2009 Posts: 43
Quote:
It's interesting that most people accept this when it comes to the command "stay on the path" but not when it comes to the evaluation "failure".


Huh, you're right, it never once crossed my mind to think of it as a flat-out lie. In my mind I always attached a sort of abstract--- and possibly backward--- meaning to it. Take my previous post in this thread, for example: the stuff that I was saying there would be what a wolf would want me to think.

And, honestly... when I think of that "failure" as a lie... it makes me feel like I'M the girl in the fairy tale who has been deceived by the big bad wolf. I've been tricked away from the safe course so that I'm all the more vulnerable. Is the scorecard (or, more specifically, are you two) supposed to be a sort of wolf for us players?

*click*

Now there's a thought!

If that's so, then I think the "Until you learn your lesson..." on the homepage makes much more sense to me now.
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Viking
Posted: Sun Apr 05, 2009 12:00 pm Reply with quote
Joined: 10 Mar 2009 Posts: 163 Location: UK
I don't think it's ever been the success/failure message that's seemed out of place for me. What has is the items in the inventory that you MUST collect to get to an A ranking. Every time I play, the graffiti wall is highlighted for all the girls and only 2 of them can actually interact with it. That part of it I feel is pointless and should be removed, unless anybody else has managed to get around this?
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Access
Posted: Sun Apr 05, 2009 4:31 pm Reply with quote
Joined: 16 Feb 2009 Posts: 7
Comical satire doesn't fit well with the game.

But honestly you shouldn't be asking. You're the artist, why do you care what we prefer.

Put/keep in what you feel is right and stand by that.
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Michael
Posted: Mon Apr 06, 2009 9:30 am Reply with quote
Site Administrator Joined: 07 Jun 2002 Posts: 8065 Location: Gent, Belgium
Viking wrote:
Every time I play, the graffiti wall is highlighted for all the girls and only 2 of them can actually interact with it.

We'll look into this.
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Viking
Posted: Mon Apr 06, 2009 10:55 am Reply with quote
Joined: 10 Mar 2009 Posts: 163 Location: UK
And Scarlet always has the piano highlighted. Sorry to bother you. Smile
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Morrigan
Posted: Mon Apr 06, 2009 2:04 pm Reply with quote
Joined: 19 Mar 2009 Posts: 9
The whole SUCCES! when i got violated on my first wolf encounter made me kinda sick to be honest. Sad
Not to sure about the scorecard. kinda doesn't fit the theme of the game. on the other hand it IS helpfull. maybe an idea to rework the scorecard. make them unique to each girl. maybe hinting on what happened to them on it.

As for the guiding players off the path, cant you use dramaprincess for this? like how when some girls chase the bird they usually run a bit in the woods.
Suppose you can place objects for each girls near the edge that makes them go check it out even if their not standing still.

For example robin says she heard a singing wolf on the webpage. so somewhere along the path she hears singing from the woods, she ignores player control, and she walks to the edge and starts peering into the forest and says something like "i wonder what that was?"
Then you regain control and can decides for yourself to check out the singing or still dash off to granny.
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salvagebar
Posted: Tue Apr 14, 2009 2:34 am Reply with quote
Joined: 13 Apr 2009 Posts: 4
ToT wrote:
Indeed. The Score Screen is an ironic, or even cynical, joke. It was in no way included to be taken seriously as an evaluation of your performance. So when we suggest removing it, we don't mean moving it to a less obtrusive place. The question is whether the joke works, whether it is necessary to understand/appreciate the game. Or if we could leave things more obscure, less explicit.


Interesting, I had not thought of the screen as a joke, probably because the design of the score screen fits well with the rest of the game.

I see the joke, if it refers to the convention of gathering items, finishing tasks, and gaining points that is part of video games as an art form. However, IMHO, most people, maybe almost everyone who plays this game, will not get the joke.

It is not necessary to appreciate or understand the game, and Jenova Chen is right that it interferes with the uncanny, unsettling atmosphere of each of the endings. Drop the count of secret rooms, drop the letter grade, and so on. I would leave the final statement for each character: "You have found the misty lake." "You have found the graveyard."

All that being said, please, please include that information somewhere, because there is a reason why many games include that information. It is nice, for some gamers, to have milestones so they can judge how much of the game they have seen. Some people will just wander through the forest, see some of the items, piece together the personalities and stories from the fragments, experience each ending, and leave it at that. I suspect that this is how you want most people to interact with the game - loosely, in a non-linear fashion, leaving many things mysterious.

However, some people are completionists, and will not stop until they are sure they have seen every wrinkle and looked under every rock. I have some of this in me; not a lot, but some. You can look down your nose at this behavior if you like, but for gamers like this, the scorecard and count of secret rooms is a necessity, not an option. Let these people have the information in some form: a chart item they find in the forest, an option in the menu, whatever you like. But don't leave it out.

Great game, scared me some, made me think for a long time about femininity and what it would be like to grow up female.

Many thanks.
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Michael
Posted: Tue Apr 14, 2009 8:59 am Reply with quote
Site Administrator Joined: 07 Jun 2002 Posts: 8065 Location: Gent, Belgium
We do indeed like to offer as many ways of playing The Path as possible. But maybe that is a mistake. I mean: it certainly does make the game more accessible to a larger group of people, but as such it also waters down the purity of the game that a smaller groups of people may appreciate (perhaps it makes the game less great than it could have been).

But we are concerned that the completionist type of gameplay has nothing to do with our story. That it is in fact another type of game that just happens to take place in The Path. That when you're playing to complete your basket, you're being yourself, the player, and you're not thinking about the girls anymore and their situation.
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salvagebar
Posted: Tue Apr 14, 2009 5:17 pm Reply with quote
Joined: 13 Apr 2009 Posts: 4
Michael wrote:
We do indeed like to offer as many ways of playing The Path as possible. But maybe that is a mistake. I mean: it certainly does make the game more accessible to a larger group of people, but as such it also waters down the purity of the game that a smaller groups of people may appreciate (perhaps it makes the game less great than it could have been).

But we are concerned that the completionist type of gameplay has nothing to do with our story. That it is in fact another type of game that just happens to take place in The Path. That when you're playing to complete your basket, you're being yourself, the player, and you're not thinking about the girls anymore and their situation.


Fair enough. The audience for any art brings certain desires and preconceptions to the table, and it simply isn't possible to make everyone happy. THE PATH is the sort of game that, if executed properly, will frustrate or bore a lot of people, especially since less than half of people read the instrutions for any game they buy.

My guess: some significant minority (10%? 20%?) will install this game, go to grandmother's house immediately and not understand the ending, or get lost in the woods without discovering very much, and uninstall the game within an hour. This is unavoidable, and it probably means that you are doing your job right.
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Hiacynt
Posted: Thu Apr 16, 2009 11:38 pm Reply with quote
Joined: 14 Apr 2009 Posts: 10
The 2 cents that I'd like to add to this discussion is how a similar problem was resolved in Aquaria (another fantastic indie game). In this game, you could find some hidden memories of the main character, and if you collected them all, you got an extended ending. If you finished the game without collecting all of them, you received the following, said by the main character:

"You've reached an end, but it is not all that I have to share. You've become lost along the way, considered only with the immediate facts. Return to the waters, and follow the trail hidden in my memories, the story of my childhood..."

It didn't give any exact hints or anything, merely pointed out that there was something that you missed during the game. I think that a similar approach could work in the case of The Path. I'd stand against woods-luring indicators or helpers of any kind. The player should decide how to play. If they go directly to the GMH, the scoreboard could say something along the lines of what I quoted above. Merely this, and nothing more. The Path is such a scarce environment, that giving any precise hints destroys the overall experience, to my mind.
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Michael
Posted: Fri Apr 17, 2009 9:05 am Reply with quote
Site Administrator Joined: 07 Jun 2002 Posts: 8065 Location: Gent, Belgium
The thing is that we don't really mind if people never enter the woods. If they feel happy just visiting their grandmother and never meet the wolf, that's fine. They will need to be strong enough to live wiith the "Failure" stigma. But I'd say that is part of the experience. The "Failure" in The Path applies to the narrative: you failed to tell the ancient tale. But who says you have to tell this tale? Maybe you don't like it. Maybe you think it's wrong.

I think losing a game should be an acceptable experience. It's not because you lost a game of chess that you didn't enjoy it? Why is it that computer games need to be won?
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mimkorn
Posted: Sat Apr 18, 2009 11:00 pm Reply with quote
Joined: 10 Jul 2008 Posts: 22
I read all posts. I have nothing else to say than was said in here except my own seeing of the score...

I absolutely did not think about it as a joke. It left me feel kinda - damn so this IS just another game, that wants me to see all that was created in it. It made me feel like: damn it, I'll have to play it more times, looking for things in the forest as noob, it ended to be a fun for me very soon, but still I have found everything (without seeing the score at the max point). In this - I can see how I'm spoiled - I need to win. And what shocked me: I did not see any library, as was seen in the video. And there was nothing saying, that I COULD find a library in the GMH. And that means I did not see all the beauty of GMH (or the game all-in-all). It left me frustrated (not more than not playing the game seriously. Minimum details and so forth, the beauty of the graphics was absolutely lost with this damn computer).

The score spoiled the beginning of my thinking. I was shocked seeing the end, I wanted to think what was happening, what the hell I just saw and... damn... a score... all thinking was lost and I even felt bad cause of not finishing the game good enough.

The whole gaming left me in desperate feelings. Mostly because I realized that I was not enough patient to see the beauty of the game and that I absolutely did not get what happened in there and I wish to know soo much... (it made me feel kinda stupid - I'm as all other players. I could not understand the poetry... the thing it was trying to tell me)

OT... sorry
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Xastabus
Posted: Tue Apr 21, 2009 5:18 pm Reply with quote
Joined: 20 Apr 2009 Posts: 19
I voted no, but I misinterpreted the question. I believe the score screen should stay as it clearly and effectively illustrates the end of the chapter to the player and helps convey that there is more to The Path than running from Home to Grandmother's House. However, it could better serve players with a few adjustments.

The Items tally appears to include items the current girl is incapable of collecting and doesn't account for the collect-once items that have previously been collected. I think it should account for items previously collected and not include items the current girl can't collect.

I have mixed feelings about Rank systems in games. On one hand I feel the rank system gives players something to work for other than simply playing the game, but it should be balanced to the pacing of the game and the target audience. The condition for receiving a better rank should also be clearly defined. On the other hand, I think the in-game basket and the tally on the end screen does a good enough job that a rank system isn't really necessary.

I think the rank should be optional as long as it is meaningful and based on the memories that can be and have previously been collected by the current girl. If the rank is totally pointless or based on objects the current girl can't interact with, then the Rank should go away completely.
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Emriss
Posted: Wed Apr 22, 2009 5:58 am Reply with quote
Joined: 23 Sep 2007 Posts: 612
Xastabus wrote:
I have mixed feelings about Rank systems in games. On one hand I feel the rank system gives players something to work for other than simply playing the game, but it should be balanced to the pacing of the game and the target audience.


But there's the thing. I think part of the point of The Path is playing the game for the sake of playing the game. This isn't the type of game where the main focus should be 'winning'. And if adjustments are made to encourage that playstyle, they might loose sight of the experience.

Scores and achivements and pre-determined goals have their place. This isn't that place.
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