#1 Edited by Kraznor (1578 posts) -

I just bought this as it started getting some talk this morning due to Rohrer throwing a couple thousand dollars into the mix as a promotional stunt. Hey, getting paid real cash money to mess around with a video-game from a respected developer, sure why not? So I bought the Alpha and played about an hour of it.

Now, I know, I played one hour and am about to pass some judgments on it, but here goes.

1) This game has no art design. It seems so function-first in its visual design that it immediately seemed low-fi in a bad way. That there are no animations really, it is a frame-by-frame game, suddenly made the way the trailer was presented make sense and made me feel kind of ripped off.

2) The "house" you design can never actually look like anything approaching a real house, they are weird death dungeons your "family" happens to live in. Now, the game is in alpha so maybe he'll flower up some of your customization options later, let you put in normal house things like, you know, a dishwasher, a furnace, a water heater, etc. This point really infuriates me, actually, as he talks about the attachment you have to the house you design and the importance of feeling that sense of loss but I see that NEVER happening if all of your houses look like gross, barren warehouses with electric floors everywhere. They make no sense at all and it totally undermines the core conceit of the game.

3) The build phase is boring. There is no music during this phase of the game and there is no way to simply load in the last house design you made in order to tweak it, or any such thing. Yes yes, the importance of feeling loss, etc, but...why would I keep playing then? There is nothing for me to do outside of continuing to rob houses so its not like I can actually enjoy the big score I just stole.

4) Your family are literally just objects. Why would you become emotionally attached to static crates, essentially?

So...yeah. The core ideas of every level you play having been designed by a real human somewhere and the in-game economy being produced by the player-base are solid but the way they are expressed in the gameplay leaves tons to be desired. And this may just be a personal issue due to resolution settings or something but this game is played in a window and it is JUST big enough to the point where any descriptive text regarding the objects in the game is just off-screen for me. Definitely not helping my personal experience with the game but I still find some core aspects of its design detrimental to the thematic content Rohrer is reaching for. The game is mechanics first to the point where it feels EXTREMELY mechanical. My family isn't a family, they are objects I am tasked with protecting. My home isn't a home, its a dungeon. The world of the game is fueled by home invasions, thus negating any real-world relevance of the trauma associated with such an event. It just fundamentally makes no sense and I don't like it.

#2 Posted by Kidavenger (3528 posts) -

I'll check it out when it goes on sale

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#3 Posted by L33T_HAXOR (255 posts) -

I'll check it out when it goes on sale

#4 Posted by Hailinel (24284 posts) -

@kraznor: Did you ever stop to think that the way the house and family are depicted might be a commentary on the view of home and family shared by someone that would turn their house into a literal death trap?

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#5 Posted by joshwent (2157 posts) -

@kraznor said:

The world of the game is fueled by home invasions, thus negating and real-world relevance of the trauma associated with such an event. It just fundamentally makes no sense and I don't like it.

This was my big concern. A game exploring security related to your family and possessions is a brilliant idea, but when there's nothing to make you actually care it all falls apart. When there's no time that you're specifically safe, it sort of removes the danger. I suppose that you'd feel the tension once you've accumulated a lot of stuff, but that's just the same tension that you feel in any roguelike once you've progressed far enough.

Still, I think it could be interesting and I hope it improves/succeeds (I don't know if Rorher has discussed further developments and updates over time), but your bad impressions make a lot of sense.

#6 Posted by Sin4profit (2921 posts) -

You just haven't played it long enough for it to "click".

Seriously though, i forgot this was the same dude who's essentially bribing people to play his game while at the same time talking about the moral dilemma of sales. I appreciate an experimentalist but his hypocritical perspective kinda killed my interest in this game.

Doesn't help that i was reminded that he made Inside a Star Filled Sky, didn't like that game, but at least i didn't pay full price for it.

#7 Posted by joshwent (2157 posts) -

@hailinel said:

Did you ever stop to think that the way the house and family are depicted might be a commentary on the view of home and family shared by someone that would turn their house into a literal death trap?

Sure, but then you have a completely one note game. That's like a short story; read it, and you're done. It's clear that Rorher wants this to be an active MMO, which would depend on you actually valuing the things (people?) that you're working to protect.

I do think you're right, in a way. It's clear (sort of) that the game is putting you in the shoes of a specific character with a specific world view, but if that world view isn't engaging, there's nothing there to keep players playing.

#8 Posted by BisonHero (6402 posts) -
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#9 Posted by Demoskinos (14732 posts) -
#10 Posted by Brodehouse (9780 posts) -

Seriously though is the protagonist a serial killer because he goes by his middle name and all white guys who go by their middle name end up hunting humans.

#11 Posted by Wolfgame (699 posts) -

I played this game a good bit after purchasing in late november, I could see ways this promotional real cash grab could be exploited by those who have the intention. I thought this game was pretty cool when I first played it, but after a couple of weeks I just tired of exploring all the nuances. There is a lot here for strategy minded people, the game has features and I could see it developing a strong following.

#12 Posted by Kraznor (1578 posts) -

@hailinel: My only response to that is the trailer seems to indicate that if you return home and someone in your family is killed you either have the option or are forced to commit suicide. That seems to indicate the player ought to be attached to their family in an emotional way but you aren't, its just mechanical. And yeah, maybe the justification is you are playing a psychopath but then the game is a world where everyone is a psychopath and the only thing you can do is be a good psychopath, which is well-trod territory.

#13 Edited by SweeneyTodd (27 posts) -

http://thecastledoctrine.net/stealRealMoneyContest.php is a fascinating read, especially the part where he talks about carrying around a metal club to fight off dogs. IRL, not in the game. And that club is one of the prizes. Interesting guy, from a mental health perspective.

#14 Edited by BisonHero (6402 posts) -

Interesting coincidence, but aren't people also building maze-like fortresses in RUST (an MMO-like game), for a similar purpose of confounding intruders? Weird timing.

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#15 Edited by cloudymusic (1099 posts) -

@kraznor said:

4) Your family are literally just objects. Why would you become emotionally attached to static crates, essentially?

I never really understood why people felt attached to their "relatives" (that is, some icons on the day-end summary screen) in Papers, Please either.

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#16 Edited by GaspoweR (2940 posts) -

From the stories i hear, Rust seems to be doing a better job in what The Castle Doctrine is trying to pull off, especially in the later metagame when you get to build structures to house your stuff, etc.

#17 Posted by Wolfgame (699 posts) -

I've played both, not sure I would compare Rust and this game similarly. I would say if you are choosing between the two to go with Rust though.

#18 Posted by ajamafalous (11942 posts) -

I'll check it out when it goes on sale

hah

#19 Posted by SomberOwl (649 posts) -

I'll check it out when it goes on sale

Righteous.

#20 Posted by NoCookiesForYou (759 posts) -

I'll check it out when it goes on sale

/thread. I applaud you sir, skillfully done.

#21 Edited by Illuminosopher (321 posts) -
#22 Posted by Jrad (621 posts) -

I'm not sure how much the game has changed in the 6 months or so since I've played it, but back then, it definitely only really appealed to the kind of people who enjoyed tinkering with stuff like Minecraft's redstone. It was more or less a multiplayer puzzle game, where the puzzles were all created by other players, and whether you got to keep the reward for beating a puzzle was dependent on how good your own puzzle was. Since then, I guess he's added loads of ways to subvert the puzzles somewhat (burglary tools, for instance) which probably changes the dynamic a bunch, but the core is still the same, and it's why the game's interesting.

Honestly, the best part about the game was being able to see all the failed break-ins. When someone falls for your traps and dies, it's great. Or if they take a wrong turn, lock themselves into an area where there's no escape -- it can be fun watching them struggle and attempt to get out, before giving up and killing themselves. The attachment I felt toward my houses wasn't because they were, er, 'houses', I felt attached to them because I invested money into them and because they were incredibly efficient death machines, and if I died I was losing hours of investment and planning. It's the same with the family. The entire game is framed around home-invasion, but it's the mechanics that make it a game and it's the mechanics that matter.

#23 Posted by crithon (3111 posts) -

that's brutally honest, so I cannot even try to argue with that.

#24 Posted by MB (12206 posts) -

@l33t_haxor said:

@kidavenger said:

I'll check it out when it goes on sale

MASTER-CLASS TROLLING

It really was. I'm so happy that this was the first response to this topic.

Also, after reading Patrick's article I decided I'm never going to buy this game, full price or otherwise.

Moderator
#25 Posted by davidwitten22 (1708 posts) -

I'll check it out when it goes on sale

can i have ur autograph

#26 Posted by GERALTITUDE (3191 posts) -

sounds like a poor game. maybe it'll come out better.

#27 Posted by AlbinoJerk (84 posts) -

I'll check it out when it goes on sale

#28 Posted by Chaser324 (6394 posts) -

I'll check it out when it goes on sale

God damn...I want to post a legit response to the OP, but I just can't get past how damn amazing this post was.

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#29 Posted by Corvak (982 posts) -

@kidavenger Well played, sir. Well played. o7

This just makes me feel like its more "fun" to build death mansions in my modded minecraft server. (Though minecraft kind of lacks an actual "threat" once you play for so long) I love making rooms with no functional/gameplay purpose except to look nice with furniture and stuff in them. Though I do building design for a living, so i'm biased when it comes to building/sandbox games. And if i'm going to suffer harsh penalties for failure, i'm not going to put a huge amount of effort into building something nice, because it's just going to be inevitably lost.

Home invasions, and the fear for loved ones in danger is a powerful theme, but I feel like this would be better explored in a more narrative driven game, where your loved ones can be given more development, and allow the player to become more emotionally attached.

#30 Posted by DonutFever (3550 posts) -

I really hope kidavenger reads the rest of this thread.

#31 Posted by alwaysbebombing (1556 posts) -

I had a feeling that would happen. I'll be interested to see what happens as the game progresses, but it doesn't sound like it's off to a good start for many reasons.

I'll check it out when it goes on sale

You are a god among men.

#32 Posted by russman588 (61 posts) -

I kind of expected points 1, 2, and 4 to be the case based on the trailer and was still planning on getting it.

OP, regarding point 3, do you find the build phase in tower defense games to be boring as well, or is there something about the build phase in this game that's particularly uninteresting? I imagine he could easily add more music and sound design to the build phase later on.

#33 Posted by Kraznor (1578 posts) -

@russman588: I haven't played many tower defense games outside of PvZ so I can't really say. I may just not be used to that kind of mode in general, but it seems really plainly presented here, which is my main problem. And I do still wish you could maybe save blueprints or something of your previous builds so you could tweak rather than rebuild (Jeff said similar things on the Bombcast this week). Dying and never knowing how good your build was is just deflating. Not dramatic and tragic, just a bummer that really breaks the loop of me wanting to go back.

#34 Posted by TheCitizenKaneOfThings (29 posts) -

@sweeneytodd: Man. This guy sounds like he is absolutely paranoid as fuck and just wants everyone to feel the way he does.

#35 Edited by Wolfgame (699 posts) -

@thecitizenkaneofthings: I think the biggest thing is, there will be people now that choose not to buy the game just because they will interpret what he has said as a challenge. If you challenge the community to wait you out in this market, where games are releasing all the time to a battle of attrition. The typical gamer can wait much longer than the starving indie. The self image will suffer if he ever ultimately has to put this game on sale.

#36 Edited by BisonHero (6402 posts) -

@thecitizenkaneofthings said:

@sweeneytodd: Man. This guy sounds like he is absolutely paranoid as fuck and just wants everyone to feel the way he does.

Breaking news: White straight guy who is used to feeling safe and not threatened in society actually has a dangerous experience for once. Takes completely overreactionary measure of carrying a blunt weapon with him.

More at 11!

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#37 Posted by TheCitizenKaneOfThings (29 posts) -

@bisonhero: It's the way he writes about the stuff that shows that he's got some problems, not just that he has a dog club.

#38 Edited by MetalBaofu (1365 posts) -

I lost all interest in that game once I saw you had to rebuild your house every time you died. Even if you died while testing. Should be able to at least tweak it and test it again if you die while testing, and/or save successful layouts. Of course, that's stuff they could add in the future. And, honestly, I doubt I would ever buy the game even if it did have those features.