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Discuss the massively-multiplayer home defense game.

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#1 2013-07-14 02:31:35

Flamebo
Member
Registered: 2013-07-14
Posts: 3

Opinions of a new player

I think this game is brilliant.  I'd say I've invested 30+ hours into it. But there are some things about it that I don't like and some things that make me want to stop playing.
I really think the house building mode is horrible. Its no fun having to restart your entire map just because you've made a silly mistake. Yeah I get it, this game is supposed to be hardcore. But getting killed in what is basically edit mode in every other game ever is just annoying. Its like if I was playing sim city or something and then my entire city got blown up because I clicked on a wrong button. If its supposed to be "realistic" why the hell do I get killed by my own dogs. I think it keeps more people from getting into/playing the game.
Also, it almost makes more sense to just let your wife get killed I hope there is some more additions made to the family aspect of the game. They seem really pointless right now.

Anyways that is my 2 cents, this is one of the most original games I've ever played. Great concept! Excited to see the release version, I'm not sure if I have any more patience to keep playing until then.

P.S. oh yeah and combo locks are fucking lame. really lame.

Last edited by Flamebo (2013-07-14 02:33:47)

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#2 2013-07-14 06:31:54

jere
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Registered: 2013-05-31
Posts: 540

Re: Opinions of a new player

Its no fun having to restart your entire map just because you've made a silly mistake.

You are 100% correct, sir. That is no fun. But then a question arises: is that all video games are and should be? Fun? Do all films have to be entertaining and all novels escapist, all the time?

Your concern has been shared by lots of new player (and hey, I've rage-quit more times than I can count) and this is one of the best responses I recall reading from Jason:

http://thecastledoctrine.net/forums/vie … 1933#p1933

The tl;dr to your questions:

You're building traps that are going to perma-death some other player and make THAT player lose everything (lose their house, their family, their paintings, and all their hard work).  It's only fair that your traps would do the same thing to you.

...

If you have a vicious attack dog protecting your house, there's a good chance that the dog will turn on you (or your kids) eventually.  The majority of people killed by pitbulls each year?  The OWNERS of those pitbulls (for real!).


Regarding your family being pointless, I sometimes feel like that too. However, a lot of changes have been made recently to make it much easier to protect your family. Your wife brings in 2/3 of your salary, so if you let her die, that's quite a blow. The wife also holds onto half your money, so even if your vault gets robbed, you have something saved away.

Last edited by jere (2013-07-14 06:43:33)


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#3 2013-07-15 03:18:33

largestherb
Member
From: england
Registered: 2013-05-27
Posts: 381

Re: Opinions of a new player

with v14 the wife became mmmmmmmmuch easier to protect without taking up half the map! i will definitely be attempting to keep mine alive in future wink

the risk of testing your house and making a vital mistake that ends up in you being killed in your own trap always makes the self-test a HORRIBLY tense experience. i love it

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#4 2013-07-16 04:30:24

Flamebo
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Registered: 2013-07-14
Posts: 3

Re: Opinions of a new player

jere wrote:

You are 100% correct, sir. That is no fun. But then a question arises: is that all video games are and should be? Fun? Do all films have to be entertaining and all novels escapist, all the time?

I understand that whatever the artistic intent of this game is it is tied to the gameplay mechanics themselves. If I had to guess I would say that the main themes or ideas of this game are "consequences" and " inevitability". So I understand the creator's instance in keeping the building mode as it is. But this is a multiplayer game that relies entirely on its mechanics to interest new players and keep them playing as there is minimal story/presentation. Therefore, as a multiplayer game, attracting new players should be crucial and a mechanic that outright discourages them seems like it causes more harm then good to me.

Even if a game is artistic in its ambition, it still needs to be "fun" in the sense that the combination of the game's mechanics, graphics, and/or story engage the players attention. Otherwise who would play the game? Having the building mode be obtuse and frustrating does cause the player to be more careful on robbing runs and adds to the tension of the game and the whole overall themes of the game as rebuilding your entire house is a big pain in the ass. However, once you get better at the game, the risk of killing yourself diminishes greatly as you learn to be overly cautious as well as little tricks like testing with chihuahuas first ect.

Therefore, I think this mechanic generally doesn't add much to the game other than slightly inconveniencing the experienced player and outright discouraging the new. From personal experience a new player will spend a long time, maybe hours, building their first few houses just to have to start over again and again, without even getting to watch someone attempt their house. Isn't it enough that the new player's house is probably already going to get fucked over by more experienced players and they will have to start over again and again already? The frustration that dying in build mode adds mainly punishes new players (severely), and causes less people to get into the game. For a commercial multiplayer game, shouldn't attracting and retaining new players be a major priority? I think this is just bad game design that needlessly alienates a large amount of its potential audience. Is the amount of tension this mechanic adds to the game worth the loss of players?

Last edited by Flamebo (2013-07-16 04:56:33)

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#5 2013-07-16 06:38:12

jere
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Registered: 2013-05-31
Posts: 540

Re: Opinions of a new player

For a commercial multiplayer game, shouldn't attracting and retaining new players be a major priority? ... Is the amount of tension this mechanic adds to the game worth the loss of players?

That's an open question. Is this a commercial game? Jason is well known for making art games. This is kind of like going to see an art house film and saying "part of the movie made me uncomfortable. Aren't you worried about making potential customers uncomfortable?" What if attracting customers isn't such a pressing concern in the scheme of things? What if making you uncomfortable is the whole point?

Even if a game is artistic in its ambition, it still needs to be "fun" in the sense that the combination of the game's mechanics, graphics, and/or story engage the players attention. Otherwise who would play the game?

Well, I was specifically saying that dying in your own house is not fun and I think that's OK.

While I disagree that all games need to be fun, it's clear to me at least that, as a sum of its parts, The Castle Doctrine is really fun and engaging. I think anyone who spent 30+ hours on it (that's you, me, and a bunch others I'm sure) would be inclined to agree. I too worry about what's going to happen to the player base, but here we are getting past the frustration and continuing to play it ourselves.

As a practical matter, what would be the alternative anyway? Owners have to prove their house is fair, so a self test would still be required. The only way I can see it happening is when you fall in a pit or get fried by an electric floor or get mauled by a pitbull you just.... poof, start the test over like nothing happened?

Last edited by jere (2013-07-16 06:39:48)


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#6 2013-07-16 07:50:26

jearr
Member
Registered: 2013-04-18
Posts: 42

Re: Opinions of a new player

I've also lamented dying during self-test, which has probably killed me more times than attempted robberies.  Mr. Rohrer has indicated he likes it this way, so I don't see it going away.

The only way I can see it happening is when you fall in a pit or get fried by an electric floor or get mauled by a pitbull you just.... poof, start the test over like nothing happened?

Yes.  To meet Mr. Rohrer's vision half-way, this "safe safe-test" mode might only be available temporarily when you start a new house.  For example, it might only be available for the first 24 hours your house is alive.  The messaging that appears during self-test would be updated to reflect this.

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#7 2013-07-16 22:08:58

azaghal
Member
Registered: 2013-07-16
Posts: 11

Re: Opinions of a new player

I'm a new player myself (just got the game this weekend), and I just died during a self-test after sinking over $13k into my design (the most I've been able to get up to yet). There was certainly a sinking feeling the moment I realized I hadn't performed all my steps properly, but I find that aspect of the game an attraction personally. The intensity that permanent death lends to the game gives it a very different feel from most games I've played. When I accidentally take one step closer to that pit bull than I meant to, there's a wonderful heart-in-your-throat moment that simply can't be replicated without the sense that something of value is a keyboard press away from being lost forever.

I do confess I found the building mode very frustrating apart from the self test, though. When wiring something I could never remember what connection I needed to make, and of course the necessary information was off-screen, so I had to tear down and re-build countless walls just trying to remind myself what my plan was (I do appreciate not actually being charged for such ephemeral changes). I have even warmed some to this aspect, though, as it reminds me of building projects in real life, where I inevitably screw something up 5 steps back and have to dismantle a large portion of my work to fix things. More complicated designs are not just more expensive, and don't just take more imagination, they are actually harder to build, and that can be a good thing. Not to mention that it only intensifies the sense of ownership you have over your home, and the sense of loss when your life is snuffed out far too early...

Anyway, that's enough out of me. I wanted some opportunity to express my reaction to the game, and this felt like the appropriate place for it smile

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#8 2013-07-17 18:38:36

Ludicrosity
Member
From: US
Registered: 2013-06-22
Posts: 144

Re: Opinions of a new player

Welcome to the forums azaghal. I agree about the awkwardness of dealing with the build mode's off-screen portion of your home. Interesting observation about the similarity to real life building projects though.

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#9 2013-07-19 10:23:34

jasonrohrer
Administrator
Registered: 2013-04-01
Posts: 1,231

Re: Opinions of a new player

Yeah, this is an issue that will haunt me forever, it seems.  Dying while editing and testing your own house.

This is where "commercial potential" and "aesthetic potency" butt heads.  Making something that attracts and keeps as many new players as possible involves "sanding off all the edges."  Edges catch some people and cut a few others.  You don't want to cut anyone, 'cause that will make them walk out.

But the edges are what make something interesting.... they're what differentiate one thing from another.  Otherwise, everything is just a sphere.  Easy to roll.  Easy to swallow.  Plunk.

I just heard an interview with Refn about his new film Only God Forgives.  Ah, here it is: http://www.cbc.ca/q/2013/07/18/preservi … vinterberg

Anyway, at Cannes, half the audience cheered, and the other half walked out.  Is it a good film or a bad film?  Certainly not a commercially-viable film.

In the case of dying in your own house, there is a careful way of playing where this doesn't happen.  Yes, that's not obvious at first, because we've all be trained by a lifetime of video games that there are no real consequences.  We're accustomed to behaving carelessly in video games.

There are a few concessions in place, however.  This is NOT supposed to be a game about shaking fingers causing you to hit the wrong key by accident.  It's supposed to be a game about assessing and managing risk.  On purpose.  Deliberately.  So, when you die, it should always be because of a bad choice.  It should be due to impatience and haste.  It should be clear how to prevent that kind of death next time ("I should have practiced more," or "I should have tested with indicator lights a bit more").  One of the recent releases even has a safe-movement-mode to underscore this.

I think that every permadeath game takes some getting used to.  You have to learn how to play in a new way.  You have to learn what to care about, and how the game works.  This is permadeath in a new context.

All that said, the editor should not be annoying to use!  I've put a lot of effort into polishing the mouse controls, and adding eyedropper support (which may not be obvious to some people----Control-click!).  Maybe more polish is needed here, and I'm open to suggestions.

But it sounds like some of the complaints involve the limited view while working on your house.  This is partly caused by the need to walk around your house while editing, which requires that you never fully box yourself in.  This behaves differently from any other "level editor" that I've experienced.  Most give you a god-like view from above.

This editor places you in the house, interacting with the contents of the house as you build it.  It intentionally has a different feel.

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#10 2013-07-19 13:59:09

largestherb
Member
From: england
Registered: 2013-05-27
Posts: 381

Re: Opinions of a new player

for a little easier level editing you can use castlefortify or such smile

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