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Gish
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Poo Bear
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Joined: 14 Oct 2002
Posts: 4121
Location: Sheffield, UK



PostPosted: Sat May 22, 2004 1:47 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

It looks good and when you see it you think it will be good, but after playing it I'm dissapointed. Very difficult and frustrating to control, you know sometimes how the control system is just right, it's hard to put into words but sometimes the controls are so delightful and natural that even though the game is still difficult it doesn't matter i.e. sonic at full speed. With Gish I was constantly fighting the controls. The levels were a bit samey too an da bit dark.

If they could refine the controls and get some more colourful and varied levels together then this could be a massive game as it looks so intriguing. I think the problem is that this is a physics simulation and they are notoriously difficult to work with. How many car games implement what should be a realistic and accurate simulation that in the end just feels bad. I think this could be the same issue, in which case it might be very difficult to fix without breaking the simulation.
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Weeble
Starscape Jedi
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Joined: 25 Apr 2003
Posts: 1143
Location: Glasgow, Scotland



PostPosted: Wed May 26, 2004 2:13 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Urgh! Poo Bear, that's so true. At least it wasn't all that expensive.

This just makes me think of the Grolsch adverts. "Schtop! This video game is not ready yet."

Things that annoyed me:
  • The download system is clunky and doesn't allow you to use a download manager for the file which is over 40Mb. Although I have a reasonably good ADSL connection, it failed part-way through 3 times.
  • The key-code entry part won't paste from the clipboard.
  • The menus are ugly and inconsistent. "Back", "Exit" and "Exit Game" are all used to mean much the same thing. Menu items represented by icons and screenshots don't respond to clicks on the icon, only the text.
  • Many puzzles require not so much feats of skill but bloody minded persistence doing the same thing until the blob actually sticks to the right wall. Most notable is any place where you need to move Gish from hanging under something to crawling up the side of it, especially if timing is critical.
  • If you press the jump button when standing still he doesn't even leave the ground. You need to squish him and do a small jump, then use that momentum to squash him into the ground to do progressively larger jumps. This is slow and tedious for something you need to do all the time. If you're doing it on awkard ground chances are you'll go flying off at an awkward angle and have to start again.
  • Many levels can be rendered impossible due to the way the (very clever) physics model is relied upon for everything. I managed to somehow snap a rope that wasn't on the screen, presumeably because I pressed the switch activating it twice without realising. The drawbridge it held open fell shut and I was stuck.
  • This last point wouldn't suck so much if you could retry indefinitely, but you lose a life every time, and when you lose the lot you're back to the beginning of the current area, probably several levels ago.
  • Even this wouldn't suck if the experience of playing through those levels wasn't just doing exactly what you did last time with a similar success rate, but it is, so it does.
  • Some of the secrets are cool and cleverly hidden. Others just seem to be a case of poking and prodding every corner of the level, which soon loses its novelty.


It's a shame, this is a really promising concept that just doesn't seem to have been fully developed. If they could just make it feel like you are the blob rather than somebody trying to move it by blowing gently, tidy up the interface and rethink the lives system, I'd love it. (I do intend to post these comments to their message board, but for some reason they a) only allow customers to post and b) require an administrator to manually confirm each user, so I'm not registered. I'm sure they care for their users, but I'm worried that their care might next involved mailing me anthrax or fire-bombing my street.)
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Fost
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Joined: 14 Oct 2002
Posts: 3734



PostPosted: Wed May 26, 2004 8:20 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

I think long term this game might actually still be a winner though, and I think it all comes down to level design. The whole system seems really cool, and the only things I would change are the jumping system to be a bit faster and 'higher' - I keep thinking if you could bounce about a lot faster and it was a slightly quicker game then it would 'feel' more fun. I would also change the way gish traverses walls on sticky mode - if he crosses a corner, you can end up stuck, whereas he should just be able to go past it (I'm just reiterating Weeble's points here really).

Fix those two points then it would all be down to the level designs, and could be super cool! As it is, I still found it really enjoyable, it just has so much more potential.

Weeble - If you want to send them feedback you should email it in - all good developers appreciate good feedback. I'd feel a bit awkward about doing so myself, being a developer in the same boat and all Wink
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Weeble
Starscape Jedi
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Joined: 25 Apr 2003
Posts: 1143
Location: Glasgow, Scotland



PostPosted: Wed May 26, 2004 4:55 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

This is getting increasingly painful. Now their message board has exceeded its bandwidth limit and been taken off-line. Still, point taken about the email. I'll see if there's an appropriate address to contact.
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Goober
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Joined: 11 Oct 2002
Posts: 449
Location: Moonpod Central



PostPosted: Wed May 26, 2004 8:00 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

They're probably reeling from the slashdot effect.
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Weeble
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Joined: 25 Apr 2003
Posts: 1143
Location: Glasgow, Scotland



PostPosted: Thu May 27, 2004 3:18 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

I've made some progress, and it does get better, but it always finds new ways to infuriate you. My install seems broken - there's no texture on the walls in the hell levels - did anybody else find that? Gish also highlights the good job Moonpod has done with download size. This thing is huge! It's packed full of stupidly high-resolution TGAs that are in no way trimmed for redundant material.
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Goober
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Joined: 11 Oct 2002
Posts: 449
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PostPosted: Thu May 27, 2004 7:03 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

What installer system do they use? We use Inno Setup and it compresses the data as it builds the installer (I think it usesbzip or something). Don't the Gish guys do anything like that? While not as good as a proper image compression method, it will compress pretty much anything reasonably well. (easy way to check if they do anything like this: compare the installer size with the size of the \Program Files\Gish\ folder, or whatever it's called. Not perfect, but it'll give you some idea)
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Weeble
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Joined: 25 Apr 2003
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Location: Glasgow, Scotland



PostPosted: Thu May 27, 2004 12:19 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Oh it's compressed, certainly. The download's 40-something Mb, while the install directory's over 100. But I doubt even a good compression algorithm is going to pick up all the redundancies in those images. It's things like having the same background in every image when they could have had the background once and much smaller images for the picture panel that actually changes; including all the story text in the images (ooh, that'll be fun to localise) and using really huge images for wall textures when it's little more than a tiled pattern with minor variations. That's what's annoying me.

I've actually finished it now. There's some clever levels towards the end, and you do begin to get more proficient at controlling the blob. Sadly some of the levels suffer from butterfly effects, and if something unexpected happens their beautiful machines will go terribly wrong, most often by crushing you to death. And there's nothing more annoying than trying to fight the bad guys in enclosed spaces. No, that's a lie, it's more annoying to get squashed to death by an innocuous wall when you hit it at speed at the wrong angle.
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drgamer



Joined: 11 Apr 2004
Posts: 14



PostPosted: Thu May 27, 2004 6:57 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

The first level is too dark...
*tries to get brightness up*
*moniter explodes*
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Goober
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Joined: 11 Oct 2002
Posts: 449
Location: Moonpod Central



PostPosted: Fri May 28, 2004 8:37 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

I've just looked through some of the Gish data and, Weeble, you're absolutely right. There's a huge amount of redundancy in there. The one that sticks in my mind most is/are the loading screens. At a guess, there's over 400x600 pixels per image repeated across 11 images. That's a huge amount of unnecessary data (400x600x4 bytes per pixel x 10 images is about 9.1MB, just for the loading screens). If nothing else, those images should have been stored without the alpha channel, that's a 1/4 saving right there.

I can see how the physics interactions would lend themselves to breaking the game, but I guess it's not something easily fixed or fudged. And a nightmare to test Sad. Maybe they'll look at some of the problems over the next few weeks/months and release a patch or something.

Instead of bashing our fellow indies I should probably praise up what's good. They did something new and different. This is a huge deal in indy space where you get to see "Generic block puzzle #45873" released every other week (just remember to increment the number), or people just blatantly rip off Bust-a-Move left, right and centre.

Oh yeah, and the Egypt music is fantastic, like "Fiddler on the Roof meets System of a Down". Marvellous Smile
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Weeble
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Joined: 25 Apr 2003
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Location: Glasgow, Scotland



PostPosted: Fri May 28, 2004 4:50 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Oh, there's lots of stuff to like: figuring out how to throw objects and then using that to solve puzzles; leaping across a series of platforms as they collapse like dominoes; figuring out the clever ways to kill the bosses using the environment. There's multiple endings too. I've not found the secret levels, but I'm told they're there. There's a good mix of secret stuff - some is not too hard to find. Some I've searched for high and low and still not found.

I think the thing to bear in mind is that this game is hard, and is not nice to you like modern most modern games. Approach this like you would a game from a decade or so ago on the Amiga. It is, however, short. The developers have mentioned that they may release a level-editor. I think this should extend the game greatly. If you're still wavering, the game is also cheap. I don't regret buying Gish, others might.

Weeble.
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Fost
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Joined: 14 Oct 2002
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PostPosted: Fri May 28, 2004 11:01 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Weeble wrote:
I don't regret buying Gish, others might.


Too true! I got a lot from the game for the simple reason that is a true break from the norm. Chronic Logic must have put a ton of effort in and it shows. Incidentally, there's already a 17 meg update for it.

Any complaints about the game I think come down to the fact that it could be one of those truly classic games, and that's obvious when you play it. As it stands it is sometimes exruciatingly painful, other times astounding, but always unique - and that's what I find important these days. Strip away the graphics on 99.9% of modern games and they are all rehashes of old ideas, and often not much fun. Chronic Logic have come up with something new, and it deserves to do well. I would certainly buy a sequel without even playing the demo - you can't ask for a better recommendation than that Very Happy
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guillett



Joined: 12 Dec 2003
Posts: 26



PostPosted: Sun May 30, 2004 1:11 am    Post subject: Gishy Goodness? Reply with quote

I want to love this game - I really, really do. But something about Gish -just- misses with me. The low jumps, the excessively dark levels, and the controls in general just make it feel... sluggish, y'know?

I'll probably think this is the best thing since sliced bread once I get used to the controls (and my eyes adjust... where are those nightvision goggles?). This is, really, the first truly original platformer I've played since... since... well, Sonic, I think (well, whichever 3D platformer was first was probably original as well, but I dislike having to battle the camera angle while leaping onto moving platforms Mad ). I mean, I haven't played a game like this in a long time that wasn't just a prettier version of an already-released game.

Short version: Everyone in the world has to try the demo. You'll know pretty quickly if this is the game for you or not, IMHO.
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icarus
Troll
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Joined: 01 Mar 2004

Location: Olympia Washington



PostPosted: Mon Sep 13, 2004 6:13 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

this game is fun
the moast inovative game of the year
but it can be fustreating at times
i will buy the full game later and write a revew then
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hair65



Joined: 13 Jul 2018
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