New game: Sam Mallard - The Case of the Missing Swan

2

Comments

  • Superb! Great atmosphere.

    A real treat to have a new game coded from scratch, being that and a text adventure makes it even more special.

    I'm making steady progress but haven't finished it yet. The safe combination puzzle was really neat.
  • A bit of feedback (all minor stuff -- also I've been careful not to give spoilers):

    I think you could consider graying out some of the actions when their are no objects to examine or use.

    Controls seemed a little unresponsive at times, e.g. when entering the telephone number; however I quickly got used to the controls. The number did not seem to change straight away when moving the joystick initially.

    Telephone number could maybe auto-dial after the first time. I kept going back to try the phone, and having to go and re-examine for the phone number was a bit of a drag.

    Could be longer

    Could have been more artwork, e.g. I would have liked to see the side-alley and the other sub-locations. My imagination is crap.
    My only Speccy game (so far): a simple snake clone
  • Not a big deal and maybe even intentional - Lepidoptera was spelt Lepidpotera. :-)
  • That looks amazing. I'm a huge fan of Chandler and Hammett etc. The style looks spot on, it just oozes atmosphere.
  • Thanks for the comments and feedback guys!

    Albeit short and on the easy side I really appreciate that people have taken their time and completed the game. :)

    R-Tape wrote: »
    Not a big deal and maybe even intentional - Lepidoptera was spelt Lepidpotera. :-)
    Let's just pretend she was in a hurry when she wrote the note ;)

  • Ersh wrote: »
    Let's just pretend she was in a hurry when she wrote the note ;)

    Chortle!
  • Very easy to play for foreign users. Great interface, great graphics. This will take me a lot of fun this weekend.

    Thanks!
  • I love the interface and the graphics. Shame it was a bit short. The end comes up a bit suddenly though, and makes a big jump to the conclusion of the story. I also think it's a shame there was the floaty thing near the end that you couldn't do anything with. If short of memory, I'd rather see another puzzle than a 'red herring'.

    The puzzles were good, but not too hard. I think the way new options or bits of story only appeared after completing certain tasks was not like many adventure games - where you can often go everywhere from the start - but worked well as they were tied in to the story.

    But some were a bit of a mood-breaker, like having a telephone and being able to dial a number to solve a puzzle, but you only get to call your client near the end and then it's automatic - you don't dial his number. It kind of breaks the flow of the game when the mechanism is there but gets skipped over by an automatic bit of story.

    One thing with the interface, I kept using it wrong, and it might be a common error. After I examine something in my inventory, I would tend to press FIRE expecting it to dismiss the text and give me the location description again. Instead, I found myself selecting the inventory again and having to CANCEL. Maybe it's just me though.
    Joefish
    - IONIAN-GAMES.com -
  • joefish wrote: »
    I love the interface and the graphics. Shame it was a bit short. The end comes up a bit suddenly though, and makes a big jump to the conclusion of the story. I also think it's a shame there was the floaty thing near the end that you couldn't do anything with. If short of memory, I'd rather see another puzzle than a 'red herring'.
    There was memory left for an additional puzzle or two and I agree that it makes a rather big jump at the end, it certainly could've used another puzzle after the bar at least. The red herring can be picked up earlier though and besides the 'hobbit' reference it also acts as a red herring at another point in the game.

    joefish wrote: »
    One thing with the interface, I kept using it wrong, and it might be a common error. After I examine something in my inventory, I would tend to press FIRE expecting it to dismiss the text and give me the location description again. Instead, I found myself selecting the inventory again and having to CANCEL. Maybe it's just me though.

    There's always an audio cue when you're back at the menu, but if it's a common problem it might be worth examining. :)

    If I ever make a follow up, I'll certainly try to include more puzzles and length to the game.

    Thanks for the feedback!
  • ¿Any possibility to help translating it to spanish?
  • I sent you a PM radastan.
  • Very good and original (not another run of the mill AGD title) game. Congratulations!
    ZX Spectrum +2 & PicoDiv SD,
    Timex 2048 & divIDE 57c
  • fantastic game!!!! with just 3 keys you can play a text adventure game!!!

    I hope more adventures with this interface, because you can play fast and focus into the game rather than type or point and click.

    There are more adventures like this using this style? A new gender of point and click games would appear into the spectrum.

    Thanks a lot coder for the black&noir atmosphere, the cartoon style drawings and detective story. More episodes welcome ;)

    What about a sam&max remake for the spectrum using this interface? ;)
  • I've finally finished the game today.

    It was good fun.

    Story was good too, even with the twist at the end. That would be my way of writing too, to give the player just enough cues to get a twist ending. Sometimes it was hard to guess where you have to go to have the next story progress though.

    The only few things I'd probably have done is make the menu items a bit more responsive. It takes a long time to change to the next and if you move a lot, it became very tiring. The dialing the phone thing could have gone quicker but I think I can still handle it.

    I might also have used FLASH to display the menu choice, but I'm not sure yet.

    Also like the characters, they almost look like the "people" from some comics (which is very popular around here.) And it took me until the end before I realised how they were supposed to look. I like that.
  • Thanks again for the comments and feedback guys! I'll keep them in mind for the future. :)

    I was rather satisfied with the speed as I didn't want players to "overshoot" and miss their selection, though I can understand that it may hamper the enjoyment if you play a longer session. That's certainly something that can be tweaked further for sure.
  • Just gave it a go this is excellent, atmospheric and easy to get into thanks for the game :)
  • I've uploaded version 1.1 for anyone interested. The controls are revised and much more responsive now. Fixed a dozen typos and made a few minor changes to certain lines for some better flow. Other than that, nothing new besides adding some text if the player tries to bribe the bouncer (can't believe I missed that).

    Download available here.
  • Improving controls made this game a hundred times more enjoyable to play! Good work!!!

    I have one last suggestion to improve this game. Almost nobody reads the instructions nowadays, thus most people won't understand the plot poperly. It would work much better to present the opening story at the start of the game, in a single screen like this:

    21tvya.png

    There's no need to make any changes to your current program, if you simply store it as a compressed screen. After program finishes loading, you can simply decompress this screen, wait for key press, then start the program exactly as before.

    I uploaded this screen here (inside directory "SWAN") in case you would like to use it.
    Creator of ZXDB, BIFROST/NIRVANA, ZX7/RCS, etc. I don't frequent this forum anymore, please look for me elsewhere.
  • This is great and refreshing, thank you! Question about the graphics: After drawing them on a PC or Mac using the mouse and the Wacom tablet, what else was involved? I'm curious about the process used to convert them or import them, the final touches, etc.
  • ... actually the police should say "we just file paperwork":

    157fxb5.png
    Creator of ZXDB, BIFROST/NIRVANA, ZX7/RCS, etc. I don't frequent this forum anymore, please look for me elsewhere.
  • Improving controls made this game a hundred times more enjoyable to play! Good work!!!

    I have one last suggestion to improve this game. Almost nobody reads the instructions nowadays, thus most people won't understand the plot poperly. It would work much better to present the opening story at the start of the game, in a single screen like this:

    Thanks Einar! :)

    But the story is already explained in the game, examining the envelope/money introduces Mr. Swan and the objective (which is also mentioned again during the first cutscene in the car). This was by design, I wanted an accessible experience that got the player going with little text and the sensation of making progress from the get go. A wall of text can be pretty intimidating, so I saved the text-heavy parts towards the end when the player is, hopefully, somewhat engaged in the story. I don't know, that might just be me being silly but there you go. ;) Thanks though!

    zxbruno wrote: »
    This is great and refreshing, thank you! Question about the graphics: After drawing them on a PC or Mac using the mouse and the Wacom tablet, what else was involved? I'm curious about the process used to convert them or import them, the final touches, etc.

    Thanks mate! They were drawn with 2 colours in Photoshop then converted to 1bpp binaries and compressed. I used an old program (GBTD) for the conversion and Einar's excellent zx7 for the compression. That's pretty much it. :)

  • This game is brilliant - smooth, slick graphics, engaging story - would've made a great premium big box title back in the day. Thanks for the hard work and making it available to play. =D>
  • Ersh wrote: »
    Thanks Einar! :)

    But the story is already explained in the game, examining the envelope/money introduces Mr. Swan and the objective (which is also mentioned again during the first cutscene in the car). This was by design, I wanted an accessible experience that got the player going with little text and the sensation of making progress from the get go. A wall of text can be pretty intimidating, so I saved the text-heavy parts towards the end when the player is, hopefully, somewhat engaged in the story. I don't know, that might just be me being silly but there you go. ;) Thanks though!

    OK, I agree it's good game design to put the player right into the action. Many players will give up if forced to go through a lot of text before start playing.

    However I already had this idea in mind when I suggested adding the intro story in a single page, easily skipped. Players just interested in seeing the game would just need to press any key to start, so this extra page shouldn't cause anybody to give up. And the story would be easily accessible for anybody else interested.

    I like playing adventures and I believe it breaks the sense of immersion when you control a character that already knows something you don't, and you only find out later. This was my feeling when game started since I didn't read the text file (like nobody does).

    Anyway that's just my 2 cents, it's your game thus your decision!
    Creator of ZXDB, BIFROST/NIRVANA, ZX7/RCS, etc. I don't frequent this forum anymore, please look for me elsewhere.
  • edited March 2017
    I quite like games with extra reading material that you don't have to read. Panzer Dragoon Saga was a nice example of this. You picked up reading material along the way, and it made a nice little break from the game.

    I'm indifferent about the big slab of text. I probably would rather the story unfolded in the game, and if there did need to be an intro, I would like to see some graphics accompanying it.

    No one likes boring, long intros, that they can't skip, so that's definitely to be avoided!
    Post edited by chriswyatt on
    My only Speccy game (so far): a simple snake clone
  • joefish wrote: »
    But some were a bit of a mood-breaker, like having a telephone and being able to dial a number to solve a puzzle, but you only get to call your client near the end and then it's automatic - you don't dial his number. It kind of breaks the flow of the game when the mechanism is there but gets skipped over by an automatic bit of story.

    An easy way to fix it would be the girl giving you a napkin with the guy's home number written on it. Although the guy wouldn't answer the phone until the end. This would perfectly fit the story!
    Creator of ZXDB, BIFROST/NIRVANA, ZX7/RCS, etc. I don't frequent this forum anymore, please look for me elsewhere.
  • edited March 2017
    This game is brilliant - smooth, slick graphics, engaging story - would've made a great premium big box title back in the day. Thanks for the hard work and making it available to play. =D>

    Thanks! :)

    An easy way to fix it would be the girl giving you a napkin with the guy's home number written on it. Although the guy wouldn't answer the phone until the end. This would perfectly fit the story!
    Very clever! That would've worked fine. Although, it's pretty reasonable to asume that Mr. Swan would've given Sam his telephone number when becoming a client.


    Post edited by Ersh on
  • edited March 2017
    Ersh wrote: »
    An easy way to fix it would be the girl giving you a napkin with the guy's home number written on it. Although the guy wouldn't answer the phone until the end. This would perfectly fit the story!
    Very clever! That would've worked fine. Although, it's pretty reasonable to asume that Mr. Swan would've given Sam his telephone number when becoming a client.

    Yes. Sam knowing Mr. Swan's home phone is not a problem. The problem is not dialing the phone number yourself, as joefish pointed out. It feels inconsistent that you have to dial one of the numbers in the game but not the other. Also it makes the finale look a little "rushed" when everything seems to happen at once in the end without enough player interference.

    Other alternatives would be the home number written in the back of the envelope, or in the back of the client's business card on your desk at the beginning of the game. But getting it later from the girl fits the story better, and it's still convincing that he originally gave you his business contacts only.

    Anyway this is a minor detail in an otherwise awesome game, it's up to you!
    Post edited by Einar Saukas on
    Creator of ZXDB, BIFROST/NIRVANA, ZX7/RCS, etc. I don't frequent this forum anymore, please look for me elsewhere.
  • Yes I totally understand the problem and like I previously said another puzzle or two after the bar would've been great. :) Thanks for the ideas!
  • Finally got round to playing this. Great stuff..! And nice to see a refreshing new format for a modern game.

    I play the odd adventure game, not an expert, but it's definitely at the easier end - it took me about 30 minutes to complete, and that included a bit of time getting used to the menu system (there have been some suggestions but overall I found it intuitive enough).

    I'm assuming that it was deliberately not made too hard though, to encourage people to play through it to the end and we all have less time nowadays. Something I applaud you for is the lack of unfair deaths, dead ends and harsh timers, three things I always disliked in adventure games. Well done sir..!

    the_end_zpsh2v8gzok.png

    Despite it being quite short, I really enjoyed it. I think the monochrome graphics convey the classic mood really well. I'd like to see another one, if you can find a way to squeeze any more into memory - I enjoyed the story, you managed to convey a lot in quite a short time.
  • Thanks Morkin, I'm glad you enjoyed it! :)
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