Uh...lowlights?

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Uh...lowlights?

Postby Dana on Fri Dec 28, 2012 8:09 pm

Okay, now for the less fuzzy question:

What were the frustrating parts? What do you feel didn't work in terms of keeping the game fun and playable?

I know what some of these answers will be, so I'm going to throw another curve ball your way - I'd like your answers to be specifically about the game rather than the interactions within the Metaguard community.

In order to keep this constructive, notes about how to avoid this problem in the future or how we could have solved things while we were doing them would be preferable.
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Re: Uh...lowlights?

Postby RotavatoR on Fri Dec 28, 2012 8:17 pm

I felt that Pan's facebook page was kind of a bad move. I could easily communicate with every character if I so wished, except for with him. I think just giving him a twitter account would have worked better...
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Re: Uh...lowlights?

Postby Adell on Fri Dec 28, 2012 8:23 pm

RotavatoR wrote:I felt that Pan's facebook page was kind of a bad move. I could easily communicate with every character if I so wished, except for with him. I think just giving him a twitter account would have worked better...


Really never understood the anti-facebook rational myself. Twitter is Facebook if facebook were just status messages essentially. In both instances (of people not having twitter/not having facebook) we were still able to communicate to them with other players/we were still able to read their progress. I personally would not put this on the lowlights of the arg, it just seems silly to me.
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Re: Uh...lowlights?

Postby Sicon112 on Fri Dec 28, 2012 8:24 pm

Adell wrote:
RotavatoR wrote:I felt that Pan's facebook page was kind of a bad move. I could easily communicate with every character if I so wished, except for with him. I think just giving him a twitter account would have worked better...


Really never understood the anti-facebook rational myself. Twitter is Facebook if facebook were just status messages essentially.


I don't like either much, but at least freaking twitter let's me look at the site and posted messages without forcing a login and doesn't bug me to reunite with my creepy, possibly crazy Latin tutor from four years ago.
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Re: Uh...lowlights?

Postby RotavatoR on Fri Dec 28, 2012 8:27 pm

Also, every other character required twitter to be communicated with, or no account whatsoever. Then why was Pan the only one with Facebook. It just didn't make sense to me.
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Re: Uh...lowlights?

Postby Scarab on Fri Dec 28, 2012 8:29 pm

Sicon112 wrote:I don't like either much, but at least freaking twitter let's me look at the site and posted messages without forcing a login and doesn't bug me to reunite with my creepy, possibly crazy Latin tutor from four years ago.


Personally I just opted not to get a facebook because I already finally decided I was going to open a twitter at some point purely for the purposes of following all the tweets, since so much seemed to happen there, and just didn't want to add another website to the list of things I'd have to remember a password for just to follow one guy who I could basically keep track of anyway (I'm really not facebook's biggest fan, I admit, but it's apparantly great for feedback, and I guess it could've been a good way to attract more players... and it's not like we couldn't just BLOCK our creepy latin tutors.) It didn't really interfere with my gameplay.

I kinda wish Pan had come in earlier, though, it was an interesting set of puzzles and the live action videos and so on really livened it up, so I could've stood for more of those.
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Re: Uh...lowlights?

Postby Bill Cohen on Fri Dec 28, 2012 8:34 pm

Hi team,

Pan was given a Facebook account because it felt right for the character. He was the youngest fictional and it seemed natural that he'd choose this way to communicate.

Honestly, we weren't expecting so much resistance to using Facebook. Hell, we weren't expecting so many of the players to not HAVE a Facebook account. Perhaps it's a cultural thing, in Australia not having a Facebook account is more of a personal statement and very much the exception to the rule. Then again, we're much more savvy about our privacy settings ;)
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Re: Uh...lowlights?

Postby Adell on Fri Dec 28, 2012 8:35 pm

Bill Cohen wrote:Hi team,

Pan was given a Facebook account because it felt right for the character. He was the youngest fictional and it seemed natural that he'd choose this way to communicate.

Honestly, we weren't expecting so much resistance to using Facebook. Hell, we weren't expecting so many of the players to not HAVE a Facebook account. Perhaps it's a cultural thing, in Australia not having a Facebook account is more of a personal statement and very much the exception to the rule. Then again, we're much more savvy about our privacy settings ;)


Honestly, I'd say we were an exception to the rule in america to :lol:

Maybe I'm wrong, but pretty much everyone I know has a facebook.
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Re: Uh...lowlights?

Postby Tom on Fri Dec 28, 2012 8:37 pm

Ditto what Bill said. And also, Pan was supposed to come out earlier. We got preoccupied with echoes and puzzles and engagements and so forth, and then the videos got delayed a bit...

Pretty much everything in his storyline would have happened more smoothly if he'd come earlier, but Bill rolled with the punches pretty well.
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Re: Uh...lowlights?

Postby Eric Kays on Fri Dec 28, 2012 8:42 pm

Tom wrote:Ditto what Bill said. And also, Pan was supposed to come out earlier. We got preoccupied with echoes and puzzles and engagements and so forth, and then the videos got delayed a bit...

Pretty much everything in his storyline would have happened more smoothly if he'd come earlier, but Bill rolled with the punches pretty well.


Bill is boss, I was really impressed with how he, and my editing team, handled the entire thing.
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Re: Uh...lowlights?

Postby Krika on Fri Dec 28, 2012 9:25 pm

To be fair, I was kinda pissed at the fact that I wasn't really able to do much in the productive sense, but that's not really a fault of anything you guys did. There was only so many things that you could have done to involve us, and since I wasn't near anybody or anything that you set out (and had had set out for quite some time), I guess I was just plumb out of luck.

I dunno. I want to post stuff, comment, and provide advice, but I don't really have much that isn't related to personal beefs as opposed to technical issues.
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Re: Uh...lowlights?

Postby Tom on Fri Dec 28, 2012 9:38 pm

Yeah, we understand that feeling. We really worked to try to make sure there was stuff that could be done from everywhere, cause some things couldn't be. Layar only works in certain countries. That's why I was glad that the crucial endgame mechanic was writing, which had essentially no technical or regional requirements.
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Re: Uh...lowlights?

Postby WackyMeetsPractical on Fri Dec 28, 2012 10:27 pm

I guess the biggest peeve I've ever had was in some cases in which it felt like the characters weren't interacting with us as much as we would like. I understand that you guys couldn't stay connected to us all the time, that you guys have lives too and that every character couldn't respond to every tweet or blog comment, but there were some moments where it felt like characters were completely ignoring us. Silver was the biggest problem in this regard. I remember having to call him out on ignoring me in order for him to pay me any attention. Many other characters seemed to have the problem of being very selective towards what they responded to or not, especially when it concerned plot sensitive questions. I can't think of a lot of specific examples, but it happened often enough to bug me on occassion.

Though I understand the reasons behind it. The inability to be online at all times as mentioned before, as well as the difficulty of improv especially when confronted with plot-altering information from the players and figuring out how such things will affect the larger plot. And the interactivity we did end up receiving from the characters did more than enough to make up for the rare moment when we felt ignored.
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Re: Uh...lowlights?

Postby Tom on Fri Dec 28, 2012 10:41 pm

The biggest difficulty was that once a character needed to start deviating widely from their outline, the writer needed to start coordinating the changes with the leads, other writers, etc. All this while still confined to the videos / audio / comics that had already been produced ahead of time. The writer also suddenly had more work to do. Sometimes it just wasn't possible. But we really tried to make the game sensitive to your hands at the helm.
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Re: Uh...lowlights?

Postby narrativedilettante on Sat Dec 29, 2012 1:02 am

I would've liked the pacing on the refic stories to be more even. We had deadlines spaced out far from each other at the beginning, and then there came a time when almost all of them were due at once. During that time, I sent in 7 refics in 6 days. Of course, this wouldn't have been much of an issue if I hadn't decided to write a refic for every. single. character. (Except Romeo & Juliet because that is my least favorite Shakespeare play.) But writing refics went from being an occasional activity to something that was continuous and exhausting.

And, a note about Peter Pan on Facebook: I really f**king hate Facebook. I have an account that I haven't deleted, but I've disabled all notifications and haven't made any posts or responded to anything in over a year. However, I didn't mind that this part of the ARG was happening in a venue where I refused to participate. I was totally comfortable leaving that interaction up to other Metaguards, and I thought we had enough people on Facebook that I didn't worry about it.
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Re: Uh...lowlights?

Postby Dana on Sat Dec 29, 2012 1:07 am

That came muchly from the speed at which the echoes were being found, as well as the looming deadline. Trust me, if we could have made them spaced better, we would have. We were hoisted by our own game mechanic petard.
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Re: Uh...lowlights?

Postby YankeeWhite on Sat Dec 29, 2012 3:03 am

I just have one real nit-pick. The mindsandmatters puzzle, the one with all the fragmented pieces. The challenge was fun and I felt I was really contributing to solving something and advancing the story. But the reward for doing so seemed a little lack-luster for me. Yes, we got a new character's blog and learned more about the ARG's world. My gripe comes from putting alot of hard work and time into a well done and challenging puzzle only to be rewarded with a simple blog. The payoff could have been a little bigger, maybe another part of the comic, some custom character artwork or some other content as a reward.
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Re: Uh...lowlights?

Postby Tom on Sat Dec 29, 2012 3:08 am

Yeah, I don't disagree entirely. Here's some context on how that happened.

At that point, we were struggling to think of ways to introduce characters.

Meanwhile, we realized a packet was about to go out the door to players who had already seen the same packet posted online. This packet was, therefore, swag that didn't advance the story at all. It had only intended to be a goodie bin, basically.

I pointed out that this might be seen as disappointing. So Eric and Connor banged out this puzzle as fast as they possibly could. It may have been imperfect, but it managed to address both problems: how do we get this blog out, and what do we include in the packet to not totally waste our players' time.

Had we not needed to rush it, I'm sure we could have come up with something more fitting, but under the circumstances, I think it worked well enough.
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Re: Uh...lowlights?

Postby Connor Fallon on Sat Dec 29, 2012 3:11 am

In general, I wish we had left more of our budget for physical swag. It's a great incentive, and its a cool talking piece that gives players a lasting piece of the ARG.

If Lime Man had been a thing earlier, I would have ordered a bunch of physical Lime Medals to give out.

Also what Tom said -- the Packets were meant to reveal the Average Joe channel to new people, originally, but because of a printing error they gave us twice as many as we ordered for free. So we figured we should give them out.

In retrospect, it would have been cool to leave the reveal of the channel for everyone until those packets were sent out. But Joe needed a bit of an audience, or it was going to get awkward.

We'll probably cover Launch Day Regrets in the "Making the ARG" thread in the not to distant future.
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Re: Uh...lowlights?

Postby Val Reznitskaya on Sat Dec 29, 2012 3:28 am

Part of the problem is that the puzzle turned out to be much more frustrating than we thought it would be. The pieces were printed so that they would align if the physical papers aligned, but unfortunately, no one scanned/photographed them taking the edge of the paper into account.

I actually did the puzzle with the pieces you guys collected and it took me several hours even though I knew the answer. Oops.
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Re: Uh...lowlights?

Postby Dryunya on Sat Dec 29, 2012 5:26 am

I believe the fragment puzzle was difficult more because of us, because clean scans with crisp edges were surprisingly rare.
My personal lowlight was the pacing, especially somewhere in the middle of act 2. We boil in our own juice for a while, and then all the characters suddenly spring to life. Considering that it was the point where everyone was still high on the ARG and full of energy, keeping up with the discussions coming back to life was next to impossible. But I believe were saying that all the time, so nothing new here. :)

And, well, there's the Cabal's inaction. That broke the immersion a lot for me. Apparently, by that time the Cabal was supposed to have a lot of supporters, but that didn't happen. Our bad. :oops:
Their interference would certainly make the game harder (and probably difficult to track), but making excuses to leave something your life depends on... Well, you know. It would also probably automatically mark the "letting the Cabal stay" ending as a bad one, so I understand why you did what you did. Just saying.
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Re: Uh...lowlights?

Postby Dryunya on Sat Dec 29, 2012 5:56 am

Oh oh oh, I remembered another one.
rEALITY. :oops:

I was thinking about it earlier, and I realized (and probably even posted - I don't remember now) why it happened, despite all the now-obvious attempts to rerail the game. The problem was that we didn't have the proper mindset yet, and didn't treat Mr. A as the canon originator - we even had extensive arguments whether or not he was lying, and that was one week into the game! So when another character appeared and rolled with it, it wasn't too hard to take the bait.
Also, Mr. A's "THAT GUY IS NOT A CHARACTER, WHAT'S WRONG WITH YOU GUYS" would work just as well as Dana's, without breaking character. Just saying. ;)
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Re: Uh...lowlights?

Postby Rick Healey on Sat Dec 29, 2012 1:47 pm

Dryunya wrote:Oh oh oh, I remembered another one.
rEALITY. :oops:

I was thinking about it earlier, and I realized (and probably even posted - I don't remember now) why it happened, despite all the now-obvious attempts to rerail the game. The problem was that we didn't have the proper mindset yet, and didn't treat Mr. A as the canon originator - we even had extensive arguments whether or not he was lying, and that was one week into the game! So when another character appeared and rolled with it, it wasn't too hard to take the bait.
Also, Mr. A's "THAT GUY IS NOT A CHARACTER, WHAT'S WRONG WITH YOU GUYS" would work just as well as Dana's, without breaking character. Just saying. ;)


I actually feel bad for poor rEALITY.

Having experience with other ARGs, I knew that some encourage play similar to what rEALITY did. And because our game was so young at the time, we hadn't yet established that we didn't want that kind of play. So really, I just ask that folks be a bit more understanding about what rEALITY did. I never want anyone to feel bad about how things went just because they didn't happen to know what was going on at the time.

As for the idea of having Mr. A say that... to be honest, we felt that we did, and it was ignored. Thus, why Dana stepped in and spoke ex cathedra.
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Re: Uh...lowlights?

Postby Tom on Sat Dec 29, 2012 3:34 pm

Dryunya wrote:Also, Mr. A's "THAT GUY IS NOT A CHARACTER, WHAT'S WRONG WITH YOU GUYS" would work just as well as Dana's, without breaking character. Just saying. ;)


We actually tried this, from both Mr. A and the cat. Everyone in the megathread always noticed, went "yeah we should probably ignore him" and then didn't.
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Re: Uh...lowlights?

Postby Dana on Sat Dec 29, 2012 3:52 pm

Dryunya wrote:And, well, there's the Cabal's inaction. That broke the immersion a lot for me. Apparently, by that time the Cabal was supposed to have a lot of supporters, but that didn't happen. Our bad. :oops:
Their interference would certainly make the game harder (and probably difficult to track), but making excuses to leave something your life depends on... Well, you know. It would also probably automatically mark the "letting the Cabal stay" ending as a bad one, so I understand why you did what you did. Just saying.


They actually told someone in an email somewhere that they would not interfere unless things got dire. It was part of the compromise they were trying to reach with the players to get them to work together.

Also, if we had released the Cthulhu stuff a day later (which very well could have happened), the Cabal would have gotten the Seattle piece. Because at that point...things were dire enough for action.
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