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Forge's Chapter One has been released on the 16th of December 2013!
Read more in the Winter Update 2013.
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Forge  |  Everything Forge  |  Discussion - Chapter One  |  Topic: Forge: Chapter One - Discussion & Feedback
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abisso
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« on: December 15, 2013, 11:04:11 PM »

As I always said, there were two main reasons for releasing Chapter One as a demo of the full game:
  • Attracting the attention of skilled artists and other competent people who could then help completing the game.
  • Receiving feedback from the players.

This thread is mostly dedicated to that 2nd reason. The point is working on this game is extremely time-consuming. It also has costs, which so far have been barely covered by donations. Anyway, it's also very rewarding as an activity. I enjoy working on Forge, and I hope the same passion I had when I started will guide me till the game is complete.

This brings us to you, the players: knowing someone cares for the game to see the light of day is very important to justify the efforts of making this a reality. Considering the awful promotion job of all these years, I'm quite satisfied with the support received so far. And I can't deny this played a relevant role when it came to dedicating clock ticks and brain cells to wrap up the game.

So, was it worth it, or not? Please use this topic to share your experience with Chapter One and speak your mind freely.

My only recommendation is to post comments regarding bugs, possible improvements and such in THIS TOPIC, instead.
« Last Edit: December 16, 2013, 10:38:08 AM by abisso » Logged

Enter the abyss...
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« Reply #1 on: December 24, 2013, 10:44:07 AM »

So I just finished playing FORGE Chapter 1.  I can see that the game was truly a labor of love by those who made it.  In many ways it brings me back to the Age of the Great Guilds, and maybe to times when the world (of computer games at least) was greener and full of exciting adventures limited only by the power of one's imagination.  I'm not going to say FORGE is perfect -- but I will leave any criticism I have for another time.  The production values are high, the artwork evocative, and the gameplay fairly entertaining.  Overall, I am in awe of the fortitude and resolve of Abisso and others in completing this part of the game.  I'm sure Brian Moriarty would be proud.  Incidentally, does he know about the project?

Looking forward to the other chapters!
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GovernorEMarley
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« Reply #2 on: December 25, 2013, 11:23:56 AM »

Like i said i was going to do i've started a LP series of Forge and part 1 wnet live to day. I hope it generates some support for the game

Let's Play Forge Part 1 Small | Large
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abisso
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« Reply #3 on: December 26, 2013, 12:46:29 PM »

Hey guys.

Thanks for the feedback.

I'm glad Forge is reminiscent of old times, I definitely am. I wouldn't say it's perfect myself, and of course I'm very interested to know its flaws and eager to fix them if possible.

I've considered emailing Mr. Moriarty several times, but I have to admit I'm a bit nervous about that... lol. You know, his opinion isn't like anyone else's and the risk of him being disappointed is scary!
Maybe I'll contact him sooner or later, anyway.

@Governor: seems we have a playthrough! I really appreciate you took the time to make this, as you said you would. It looks very thorough, even if I've only watched the first few minutes so far. I'll watch it all in the next days.
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Immortalwah
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« Reply #4 on: January 11, 2014, 12:57:24 AM »

Ok - posting here for the first time - my apologies for the length:

As a HUGE fan of Loom, Lucasarts adventures, and ambitious fan games, I felt compelled to reach out to you with my thoughts.  First, congratulations on all the hard work and effort you've clearly put into this game.  While the internet is drowning in fan projects with good intentions, few progress even half as far as yours has, and fewer still come out with even half as good quality.  More often they vanish into the void of vaporware, or at best are released many, MANY years after they're planned release, so congrats most of all on actually sticking to your schedule!

However as much as I admire the work that you've done so far, I do have to tell you that I have some MAJOR concerns about the game in its current state.  To be blunt, the current method of drawing schematics makes Forge quite simply unplayable.  What should be a simple act of connecting dots becomes far worse than a chore - rather it is an agonizing ordeal.  Every single time I tried to make one, I found myself failing at least 3 or 4 times before finally completing the pattern.  There is nothing fun about this labor.  No feeling of accomplishment when I'm at last able to keep my hand steady enough to make the pattern.  Just an unbelievable swell of frustration that makes me eager to put my fist through my screen.

This frustration is further compounded by the fact that your team has so clearly done a great job on most other aspects of the game.  All of the hard work you have all put in is left ruined and impossible to enjoy.  Worse, this excruciating game mechanic goes against the very essence of Lucasarts games and makes solving the puzzles in the game all but impossible without a walkthrough.  Most adventure games (especially those adhering to the Lucasarts style) require the player to try all sorts of crazy ideas out before he or she figures out the answer.  This means trying one spell out on one thing, then another on something else - fumbling around, and failing till you finally get it right.  Lucasarts ideology was not to punish the player for this method of play, but to encourage it.  They did this most famously by eliminating death and the possibility of getting permanently stuck, yet they also did so by keeping the interface easy to use.  In Loom, it took 4 clicks of my mouse to weave a spell and find out if my idea was right or wrong.  In Forge, it could take me four minutes just to find out I'm barking up the wrong tree.  This does NOT encourage a player to take the time to solve the game - it drives him straight to a walkthrough.

I therefore implore you to rethink your interface - I see no reason to not simply have the player click on the dots rather than trace exactly (or if tracing is necessary, then make it a far more forgiving tracing that doesnt punish the player for a slightest flick of the wrist).  I hope I don't sound too harsh, but I really dont want to see all your efforts wasted due to an easily fixed design issue.   

I have many other thoughts on your game - some positive, some not, but I will save that all for another time.  (Well maybe one more quickie - the Graveyard puzzle really needs some work to be logical!).  Thanks again for your hard work, and best of luck with the rest of the game!
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abisso
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« Reply #5 on: January 11, 2014, 02:20:46 PM »

Hello, and welcome on board!

I appreciate the time you've taken to write this detailed review. Of course I'm glad for the compliments, but I'm more interested in discussing the core of your post.

First of all, I'm sorry that the game-play experience has been so frustrating for you. I'd wish all Loom fans could have fun and taste again the happiness of their childhood by playing Forge. If even a single one is disappointed, I am disappointed as well.

That being said, your position isn't a very common one. To be completely honest, there has been no complaint at all about the Drawing interface in relation to this release. The main reason is that the very first step in Forge's development has been the implementation of that system, which have then been made public as part of our Tech Demo in 2010. Thanks to that release, to the feedback and the constructive critiques, we've been able to fine tune it more and more. For example, the difficulty rate has been lowered for all Proficiency Modes, except for the Expert one and we even added a Keyboard Mode to help those with a defective mouse.

As I said, it seems this approach was in the right direction, as during all the beta-testing stages and since Chapter One's release there have been no complaints any more.

It's worth repeating that even if the majority of the people is satisfied, I do care for the rest as well. The reason why I explained you the situation, is to point out this might be something independent from the game, and possibly due to some hardware problems or your very own taste.
What saddens me the most is the extent of your disappointment, anyway.

Would you mind telling me which pointing device are you using, and which Proficiency Modes have you tried? Is there a particular reason why the Keyboard Mode is not suited for your needs? As a matter of fact, it's not more difficult and doesn't take more time than what you suggested (having to click the dots instead of dragging the cursor).
If you have a 2nd mouse at hand, I suggest you to try the game with that. And in case you have notebook with a touchpad, that is another good alternative. From our tests, touchpads are better than mice for that purpose.

My hope is that you weren't aware of the Modes and their differences at all, and that your opinion will change after you've tried an easier one.


I'd be interested in knowing the rest of your thoughts as well, of course. The Tomb's puzzle has already been a source of complaints, however, and it will surely be changed in the next instalment.

Thanks a lot for the feedback, and for your genuine desire to help us make Forge better.

All the best,
-Gabriele
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« Reply #6 on: January 18, 2014, 05:21:01 AM »

Ciao everyone,
posting for the first time as well.

I just finished playing through the Chapter 1 Demo, and I want to tell everyone who worked on it that you did an amazing work.
The art is fantastic, the voiceover is perfect. The atmosphere is the right one, straight from the golden days of point-and-click adventures. Congratulations. I guess if you wanted to raise money through crowdfunding, like a Kickstarter or other non US-based ones, you would made a great impression with the demo. And I'm sure Brian Moriarty himself could be proud of what you did, if just for the love and dedication you put in it.  Wink

If I may add just my personal aesthetic preference, I found the strongest difference with the original game Loom is the ratio between the time spent trying to get on and solve puzzles, and the time spent watching cutscenes. I mean, Loom had great cutscenes, epic, and some really long as well, but they were few and far from each other in the game. In this demo I had the feeling that almost every single puzzle led to a very long and detailed cutscene. Some times even my screensaver kicked in (after 5 minutes). And this left me a bit unsatisfied, because once the cutscene starts, it's not a game anymore, it's an animated film. No interaction.

So yeah, if I can make a suggestion for the final version of the game (which I'm positive you'll be able to get out soon!), is to split the cutscenes, and give back control to the player in the really dramatic moments. An example in Loom is the confrontation between Bobbin and Chaos. There is almost no freedom, there is only one action you can take to go on, and it's between a long chase scene and the end of the game, but just doing the action myself made me feel much more involved in the story.
If you'd like it, I can play through the demo again, and give you a list of those moments where I felt the cutscene could have stopped, and I could have interacted, just to feel part of the action.

Last feedback on the interface:
I played the Standard mode, and I found the Schematics drawing a little unforgiving with the tracing between dots, but I was stubborn enough to get through. I was using a mouse and it was ok. With the trackpad on my laptop was a bit worse.

Last-last feedback:
 Grin Grin Grin Grin Grin Grin Grin Grin Grin GREAT GAME!!!  Grin Grin Grin Grin Grin Grin Grin Grin Grin Grin Grin
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abisso
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« Reply #7 on: January 18, 2014, 10:30:55 AM »

Ciao e grazie della recensione!

Though we live in the same country, I'll answer in English for the benefit of the other users.

It's pointless to say that I appreciate the positive response, and all the compliments, which I'll forward to all the people who worked on the game.

About cutscenes vs. playable parts ratio: you're not the first one to point that out. Good news is the rest of the game has already been planned to be much more interactive (and the 2nd part of Ch.1 is like that already). The reason for Ch.1 being much more cinematic partly has to do with the 24 years gap between it and its predecessor. It's necessary to fill in some holes and give the casual player all the necessary elements to enjoy the story.
It's also the first part of the game, of course, and thus it needs a bit of introduction as well.
But I agree with what you said. Thanks to some of the feedback received during beta-testing and after the release, there are already many ideas on how to make Ch.1 a bit more interactive as well. Unfortunately there was no time to do that before releasing it; the release data had already been delayed too much and last-minute changes are often a bad idea.
There will be plenty more time now, though and so you can definitely rest assured that even Ch.1 will be less cinematic.

Trackpad vs. mouse: it's weird, cause to our current knowledge, touchpads are much better devices to draw Schematics. Maybe it depends on the resolution you played at and / or the sensitivity settings used. I'm glad this hasn't been a reason to stop playing anyway!

Cheers,
-Gabriele

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Iurius
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« Reply #8 on: February 06, 2014, 11:16:41 AM »

Hi everyone!
Like some other players, I couldn't resist registering on this forum in order to share my thoughts of 'The Forge - Chapter one' Smiley

And it is rather difficult to summarize all my impressions. Well, there are good games out there, there are somewhat bad games, and there are mediocre games after all. 'The Forge' is anything but mediocre. I love some its aspects sooo much, while I do actually hate some its other features.

First of all, the visuals are excellent. They are both pleasant to look at, and still resemble those of 'Loom' - a task that was very difficult to achieve, but it was realized by the Forge team with great accuracy. Then, there is music and voiceover - why, I have seen many commercial games with worse actors' job! And, that whole gauntlets/schematics idea is the best thing one could imagine while trying to think about some blacksmith-like equivalent of Bobbin's Distaff. Great job on that as well!

And now, as for the huge dose of criticism Smiley For now, 'The Forge' is the game made 'by fans for fans', as they say.
Well, I am a fan of Loom. I have translated it into my native language (which is Russian), and I have almost memorized the Book of Patterns and the whole official Hintbook, and I keep the original boxed copy of Loom near my PC all the time. Yes. But I still find the gameplay of 'The Forge' somewhat irritating. In the beginning there is a 'copy protection' check - good joke. Not many people have that Book of patterns near them, do they? And the player is forced to look for the code every time he/she starts the game - why?
Yes, there is a reward that shows them, but alt-tabing sometimes made the game crash for me, and that procedure still takes too much time - to enter the code, and then to watch the long intro (Esc is very slow to respond), and then there are four tapestries, which are themselves very sloooow to roll out, - and only then I am allowed to press 'Continue' and load a game. I doubt that a no-fan could tolerate all that from the very beginning.

Then, I became frustrated when trying that technical demo several years ago, and I was still confused while playing the Chapter one. Loom was one of the best and easiest games made by LucasArts, right? There was no possibility to get stuck, everything was crystally clear. That's why I like Loom. 'The Forge' is rather different. The first part of Chapter one was one long almost non-interactive intro - and then suddenly we have that 'tombstone puzzle'. I wouldn't get past it without the solution that kindly suggested to ignore  lines 1, 7 and 8. And I have thought that the first line had the biggest clue in it... The gauntlets' puzzles are also confusing - it is not so easy to draw the lines while holding the button...

Well, in general, 'The Forge' is still a great game for me. It has excellent ideas - but sometimes quite bad realization of those ideas. And I do hope the Second chapter would be better so not only Loom fans but every adventure lover could enjoy playing it.

And big thanks for the hard-working team who made this game available!!!
« Last Edit: February 08, 2014, 10:44:13 AM by Iurius » Logged
Zerointerno
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« Reply #9 on: February 07, 2014, 03:51:46 AM »

О! Зёма!

Quote
In the beginning there is a 'copy protection' check - good joke. Not many people have that Book of patterns near them, do they? And the player is forced to look for the code every time he/she starts the game - why?

Have you ever tried to input a wrong code?

Quote
The gauntlets' puzzles are also confusing - it is not so easy to draw the lines while holding the button...
Come on, it's piece o'cake easy in general.
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Iurius
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« Reply #10 on: February 07, 2014, 04:47:19 AM »

О! Зёма!
BTW, how is your Russian translation of 'The Forge' going?  Smiley

Quote
Have you ever tried to input a wrong code?
Of course! That could be fun - but for the first time only, not for every time you just want to launch the game and see 'Load' button somewhere more close to the beginning.

Quote
Come on, it's piece o'cake easy in general.
I would definitely prefer just recording/memorizing and pressing certain Sparks in certain order, like those notes on the distaff in 'Loom'.
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Zerointerno
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« Reply #11 on: February 07, 2014, 06:02:12 AM »

Quote
BTW, how is your Russian translation of 'The Forge' going?  Smiley
It isn't reasonable to start translating it until development of the game hits "nearly completed" stage. Too much things are about to be changed. I could translate Ch.1 Demo though, but Abisso haven't initiated the translation yet. So now I am working on the translation for IJI game. =)

Quote
Of course! That could be fun - but for the first time only, not for every time you just want to launch the game and see 'Load' button somewhere more close to the beginning.
Why? Those old games of old had mostly asked for a copy protection code at the each launch. Anyway it never takes much time if you ask me.

Quote
I would definitely prefer just recording/memorizing and pressing certain Sparks in certain order, like those notes on the distaff in 'Loom'.
Easier difficulties should provide you some kind of that option.
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Iurius
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« Reply #12 on: February 07, 2014, 07:05:32 AM »

Why? Those old games of old had mostly asked for a copy protection code at the each launch.
They had their purpose then - it was copy protection after all. The reason for a copy protection in a free AGS game could be only fan, and it is fan for the first time only. Afterwards it becomes rather annoying, for myself at least.
Besides, already Loom version 1.1 (included in the 'Classic Collection' of 1992) had its copy protection removed by LucasArts - all for the better, I'd say.
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selmiak
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« Reply #13 on: February 07, 2014, 12:41:18 PM »

Quote
The gauntlets' puzzles are also confusing - it is not so easy to draw the lines while holding the button...
Come on, it's piece o'cake easy in general.
The puzzles are very selfexplaining (after the Tombstone Puzzle) and go fluent with the story, imho that is the definition of good puzzle design. The Tombstone Puzzle is kind of a showstopper but once you got past that it is a fun ride (like in a tram).

Just play around with the copy protection and some of the rewards you might get for playing (with) the game Wink
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abisso
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« Reply #14 on: February 08, 2014, 10:35:31 AM »

Hello Iurius, and welcome!

Thanks for the honest and detailed feedback. Precious info there.

Fake copy protection: I understand your criticism, but from what you wrote, it seems to me that you didn't check the reward obtained for inputting the correct codes. You see, the point of it all is paying a tribute to Loom and old times in general. There are 2 ways of getting past the protection codes: inputting the correct sequence; inputting a wrong sequence. Either option gives you a reward. So let's pretend the player doesn't have the Book of Patterns the first time, or doesn't want to check it. Then he inputs a wrong code, and gets the Reward that grants the Protection codes. With that, he can input the correct code the 2nd time he plays, and get another reward. You probably didn't bother inputting the correct code or didn't check the Reward after that, because that Reward allows you to deactivate the Copy Protection and skip to the menu instantly (once and for all).
All in all, it's a matter of about 5 minutes to deactivate the Copy Protection forever, and the process doesn't require any special knowledge or property of the original game. Checking the Rewards is enough.

I hope this gives you another perspective over the whole thing.

Tombstone puzzle: there's no denying it, that's the main flaw of the game. There's a bug, which doesn't make Rusty give the correct hint to the player, and even if there wasn't, there are too many red herrings.
I have received a lot of criticism for that, and I've already gathered enough info to make it more straightforward. Don't forget the existence of the Practice and Keyboard Modes though, which make that puzzle very easy.

Also, thanks to Zerointerno and Selmiak for answering. You probably weren't aware of what I wrote in the spoiler, as during the testing things worked differently: player was able to get the Reward for the correct code only at the first attempt. If he already had the bad Reward, the other one would become impossible to obtain.

About translations, it's true that I still haven't started the process. Time is not much in these days, and translation requires careful planning.
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