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On the Rain-Slick Precipice of Awesome

Zonk posted more than 7 years ago | from the forgive-the-hyperbole dept.

PC Games (Games) 57

Runefox wrote to point out that the boys at Penny Arcade have passed around the first trailer for their upcoming episodic PC game. Kotaku is link/hosting a flash version of the trailer, and a high quality one is on GameTrailers. As Runefox says: "While almost all can agree that the graphics, as they are now, will give small children nightmares, so, too, can most everyone agree that the Fruit F***ker is simply awesome." Earlier this week Gabe put up a post with more information on the game, and owns up to maybe having put out the trailer 'too soon'. "We were worried though that people might think this was going to be a 2D game if that's all they saw. So we decided at the last minute to attach some of the 3D work we've got. It's extremely early and it's missing some effects like cell shading and a few others.In retrospect we probably should have held of showing it but we were excited and we jumped the gun a bit. We still have a lot of work to do in order to really define the look of the game." The best tidbit: You'll be able to make your own PA-style character to fight alongside the boys. Good form.

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57 comments

Looks like another "meh" game (-1, Flamebait)

fotbr (855184) | more than 7 years ago | (#18417965)

Doesn't look all that entertaining. Aside from the Penny Arcade fanboyism there doesn't appear to be anything in that game worth buying.

Re:Looks like another "meh" game (4, Informative)

Neon Spiral Injector (21234) | more than 7 years ago | (#18418125)

As a disclaimer I am a PA fanboy. But how you got that there is nothing worth buying from that trailer, I have no idea. It was just a few clips of character animations, no gameplay at all.

Gabe has stated the game will be adventure/RPGish. You'll be playing the role of an original character that you create at the start of the game. During the adventure you'll be joined by the various cast of PA.

For the $20 they'll be asking, I'll check it out.

Re:Looks like another "meh" game (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#18418375)

For the $20 they'll be asking, I'll check it out.
You'll be kicking yourself once you hear the voice overs.

Re:Looks like another "meh" game (2, Informative)

XenoRyet (824514) | more than 7 years ago | (#18418725)

There won't be any. They're going with speech bubbles, not voice overs.

Re:Looks like another "meh" game (1)

ballwall (629887) | more than 7 years ago | (#18418731)

They're not doing voice overs for that reason. They're leaving dialogue as bubble text (can't find the link to the forum post at the moment).

Re:Looks like another "meh" game (1)

Headcase88 (828620) | more than 7 years ago | (#18418895)

No need, it's stated by Gabe on the Penny Arcade home page: penny-arcade.com, Ctrl+F, "voice"

Re:Looks like another "meh" game (1)

SetupWeasel (54062) | more than 7 years ago | (#18418475)

As a disclaimer I am a PA fanboy. But how you got that there is nothing worth buying from that trailer, I have no idea. It was just a few clips of character animations, no gameplay at all.

I don't know. Maybe that's exactly why he feels there is nothing worth buying. I like PA, but games made from comics, cartoons, and movies have a bad track record. PA does get overly self indulgent at times (Cardboard Tube Samurai), and that title does not inspire confidence that the game will feature the quick wit of most comics rather than the self-importance of the news posts.

I think it could be good, but I also think it could be awful. I haven't seen anything good yet.

Re:Looks like another "meh" game (1)

Headcase88 (828620) | more than 7 years ago | (#18418965)

"I think it could be good, but I also think it could be awful. I haven't seen anything good yet."

Exactly.

I have faith that the game will be good, but there isn't any scientific evidence to back this up yet, just the fact that I like PA. But fortunately, like any game, such faith doesn't cost any money and reviews will be out once the game becomes available.

Re:Looks like another "meh" game (2, Funny)

AlwaysHappy (951252) | more than 7 years ago | (#18419225)

PA does get overly self indulgent at times (Cardboard Tube Samurai), and that title does not inspire confidence that the game will feature the quick wit of most comics rather than the self-importance of the news posts.
The title of the game is "On the Rain-Slick Precipice of Darkness", I don't see what's so self important about that.

Re:Looks like another "meh" game (2, Funny)

Seumas (6865) | more than 7 years ago | (#18418669)

Yeah, nothing sounds more exciting than playing a couple of gamer dorks who live together in their 30s in an RPG. The only thing I can imagine coming even close would be a Pogo sidescroller or a Calvin & Hobbes RTS.

Re:Looks like another "meh" game (1)

Tofystedeth (1076755) | more than 7 years ago | (#18420965)

I'm fairly certain that neither the Tycho/Gabe nor the Mike/Jerry duos live together or have for a quite a while. All four people are married. Besides, we wouldn't be playing gamer dorks. We'd be playing someone else. They would be film noir style characters anyway. Not actual Tycho and Gabe.

Re:Looks like another "meh" game (1)

19thNervousBreakdown (768619) | more than 7 years ago | (#18428689)

Yeah! I've been playing the Calvinball RTS on my non-deterministic Turing machine and it's awesome.

By right of the rule of my superiority, I declare that we are fighting, and the first one to claim victory in this conversation wins! I win!

Re:Looks like another "meh" game (0, Flamebait)

Seumas (6865) | more than 7 years ago | (#18418601)

Yeah, I can't say that I'm excited at all to play a videogame about or by a couple of dorks who have an occasionally humorous and often dumb digital comic strip. I would rank any such product up there with online flash games by Kraft like "cheesier macaroni blaster".

I'm sure they're nice enough guys. But fuck, it's just a god damn comic strip. Why not make a Slashdot video game? Slashdot is something I actually check out on a regular basis. I can't remember the last time I went out of my way to read an online comic strip. Might have been during a long boring weekend at the office a year or so ago...

What platforms? (4, Informative)

Lectoid (891115) | more than 7 years ago | (#18417979)

I have known about this game as soon as it was announced, but I still have no idea what platforms it will be available on. Based purely on that lack of info, I would guess that it's only playable on a PC.

Re:What platforms? (4, Informative)

Neon Spiral Injector (21234) | more than 7 years ago | (#18418003)

They've said it will be initailly launched for PC, Mac, and Linux. With consoles to possibly follow.

Re:What platforms? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#18418283)

Linux too? Hot damn!

I'm in there like swimwear.

Re:What platforms? (1)

The-Bus (138060) | more than 7 years ago | (#18427879)

It runs on a Garage Games engine. Xbox Live Arcade already has a game running on that engine: Marble Blast Ultra. Penny Arcade has themese up on XBLA and gamer pictures you can get.

I would be flabbergasted if it wasn't released on XBLA. It will, probably, come out a few months after its PC/Mac/Linux release.

The Slippery Precipice of Narcissism (-1, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#18418047)

Self-Serving Tripe is GO!

Just how awesome? (4, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#18418091)

can most everyone agree that the Fruit F***ker is simply awesome.

So awesome, the editors have to add an extra *. And leave out the question mark.

Re:Just how awesome? (4, Funny)

MeanMF (631837) | more than 7 years ago | (#18418145)

Maybe he's talking about the Fruit Fracker from Battlestar Galactica.

Re:Just how awesome? (5, Funny)

Captain Splendid (673276) | more than 7 years ago | (#18418495)

Maybe he's talking about the Fruit Fracker from Battlestar Galactica.

SPOILER: The fruit fracker is one of the remaining 5 Cylons. You heard it here first, folks!

Re:Just how awesome? (3, Funny)

SuiteSisterMary (123932) | more than 7 years ago | (#18419773)

Tigh (giving a briefing to the Viper pilots): Gentlemen, we have indications that a Cylon Ace is operating in this area. You all probably know him as the Fruit Fracker.
Random Pilot: Why is he called Fruit Fracker?
Tigh: Well, lets just say that sometimes you pop the toaster, and sometimes the toaster pops you.

Re:Just how awesome? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#18430959)

I'm sure there's an 'In Soviet Russia' joke in there somewhere.

Re:Just how awesome? (1, Redundant)

Eideewt (603267) | more than 7 years ago | (#18418435)

There shouldn't be a question mark. You're just reading selectively in a pathetic attempt to find more errors?

Re:Just how awesome? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#18443361)

Mods, it's not actually possible to be redundant when no one else said it.

Artistic style (3, Insightful)

phorm (591458) | more than 7 years ago | (#18418157)

Actually, I rather like the artistic style of the game. The environment seems a mix of Sam'n'Max crossed with Zelda. Cartoony, but well drawn and believable while not trying to push the "realism" button too much (like many games do nowadays).

Of course that says nothing of the gameplay or plot, but I'll keep an eye on this one to see what the reviews say about that.

Re:Artistic style (1)

kevlarcowboy (996973) | more than 7 years ago | (#18424659)

Well in the Penny Arcade post he makes the comment that perhaps they shouldn't have showed the 3D levels because cell shading hasn't been added yet. IMHO this is the correct way to do a comic or cartoon game. The Futurama game definately should have been cell shaded, the drawn out characters looked kind of wierd in 3D. I bet once they get the levels all together it's going to be real cool.

A bit offtopic: Is Jesus an NPC party member?

PA now on the other side of the fence (5, Interesting)

jchenx (267053) | more than 7 years ago | (#18418195)

It's very interesting to see Penny Arcade on the "other side of the fence", so to speak ... on the side of being a game developer, rather than just talking about them. You can definitely see this influencing some of their comments and blogs, for example their recent article on the controversial Denis Dyack / Too Human podcast [penny-arcade.com] . Dyack was on the EGM show lambasting one of the writers for calling last year's E3 demo "terrible". While he sounded quite insane and childish at times ("I'm telling you my game is awesome, you just have to believe me!"), he did make some interesting points regarding the state of media/press in the industry, especially when it comes to the notion of previewing really early builds of games.

At first, I was surprised to PA have such a calm response to Dyack's outburst. Other bloggers have said rather unpolite words to Dyack. But it makes sense, particularly because PA was probably in the middle of trying to make a similar decision. Should we show this early trailer of the game, or not? When it's "your baby", it does become quite personal if someone does criticize it really harshly.

Re:PA now on the other side of the fence (2, Insightful)

cowscows (103644) | more than 7 years ago | (#18418839)

It can be especially difficult with something containing a lot of creativity, because so much of those design processes can be iterative, meaning that the first half of the work you do is done only to figure out what you need to do for the second half of the project. Basically, if you don't throw out most of your original ideas, you're either some sort of super genius, or you're making a crappy product.

Good ideas often turn out to bad ideas, or lead to better and different ideas. The only way you can flush all that out is by trying those ideas and seeing where they go. Showing off that work-in-progress is tough, because there's a good chance that the final product will be very different. And forget about those last few layers of polish that really make your end result good. You don't want to waste time on that until you're really happy with the underlying product.

It's too bad that the hype based advertising system that the games industry has embraced doesn't take into account the way design really works. Instead it forces developers to waste time making little demos of projects that are nowhere near from ready, and can force the design process into corners from which they can't escape, resulting in mediocre games.

Re:PA now on the other side of the fence (1)

jchenx (267053) | more than 7 years ago | (#18419491)

Good ideas often turn out to bad ideas, or lead to better and different ideas. The only way you can flush all that out is by trying those ideas and seeing where they go. Showing off that work-in-progress is tough, because there's a good chance that the final product will be very different. And forget about those last few layers of polish that really make your end result good. You don't want to waste time on that until you're really happy with the underlying product.
While I agree that iteration is important, it also depends on who you show that work-in-progress to. I think that's one of the biggest issues facing developers in the industry.

Gaming fans are, in general, not engineers. They don't know how game design and development functions, nor should they really be expected to. Unfortunately, that means when they are shown early builds of games, they often make bad assumptions. Lots of E3 builds are panned for their looks. That isn't fair at all for developers that tend to focus on implementing/tweaking/balancing gameplay first, and graphics later. (And arguably, I think that's the right thing to do) To some degree, the gaming media and press follow along with the fans, focusing on the "bells and whistles", simply because that's what the fans are most interested in. This is why early builds such as Shadowrun and Too Human got criticized heavily, especially when compared to games like Gears of War which demoed a lot better. (Obviously GoW was a lot farther along)

So, the danger in presenting your ideas out to the public is getting a lot of negative criticism where it doesn't really belong (graphics not ready yet). As a developer, you can just choose to ignore those bits, and focus on the criticism that is important (gameplay mechanics, play balance, etc.). Unfortunately, that ignores the business and marketing side of things. Bad press is bad press. It can also sap team morale.

That's why a lot of the things Dennis talks in the podcast (getting rid of previews totally, keeping a game hidden from everyone until it's actually done, etc.) are pretty interesting. Ultimately, though, I think it's all "pie in the sky" and likely won't happen. There are probably just as many games that benefit from optimistic hype (E3 builds that make the game seem better than it actually is), as there are ones that suffer from unfair negative hype.

Re:PA now on the other side of the fence (4, Insightful)

Applekid (993327) | more than 7 years ago | (#18418877)

At the risk of sounding inflamitory, considering how vocal the PA guys are about games that suck, this had better be one of the best adventure games of all time.

After all, you can't have such vocal critics of bad games actually be RESPONSIBLE for a bad game, right?

I don't hold loyalties to any developer or publisher... but I have a feeling finding an unbiased review, positive or negative, of this one when it comes out is going to be next to impossible.

Do you expect Ebert to make awesome movies? (5, Insightful)

jchenx (267053) | more than 7 years ago | (#18419163)

At the risk of sounding inflamitory, considering how vocal the PA guys are about games that suck, this had better be one of the best adventure games of all time.

After all, you can't have such vocal critics of bad games actually be RESPONSIBLE for a bad game, right?
It's unfortunate that you, and many others, have similar expectations, because I don't think it's correct. Do you expert Ebert [wikipedia.org] , the famed movie critic, to be able to make great movies? I hope not. Critiquing and creating are two very different activities, requiring different skillsets. Is it possible to be good at both? Of course, but it's certainly not a given.

You could argue that PA should be able to tell if they do make a bad game, and then decide not to ship it ... but I think that's being rather short-sighted. It's one thing to realize that your product may not be so great, and another to actually pull the plug on it (and all the business ramifications thereof). Also, the mere act of being involved in the game's creation makes it impossible to be an objective critic. So PA won't be able to play the role as an unbiased critic, perhaps seeing things with rose-colored glasses when it comes to "their baby".

That said, I give them enormous kudos for going on this venture and wish them the best. But I'm not going to hold them up to the same high standards you guys seem to be. Do I want a game that I have fun with? Sure! But "best adventure game of all time" is a lot to ask for ...

Re:Do you expect Ebert to make awesome movies? (2, Interesting)

demi (17616) | more than 7 years ago | (#18420427)

I think this is a worthwhile question to consider, not so much in the expectation that critics would make great pieces of work, but in evaluating how much such criticism is actually worth. It's not that unusual for critics to "cross the fence" (Ebert himself wrote Beyond the Valley of the Dolls [imdb.com] ) and enjoy no particular acclaim for it.

I think the response "Can you do better?" is a valid one, since so much of (useful) criticism is explaining how it can be done better. Saying "the pacing is bad" and "a third of the movie should be cut" is useless blather without some understanding of how differently to pace it or which third should be cut. To be honest, most criticism is probably not that useful, and we read it more because the writers put things in an entertaining way. It's worth examining and realizing that, and also realizing that because Gabe and Tycho say a game sucks does not actually mean it sucks, or that you won't enjoy it.

While it's not fair, probably, to expect "the greatest ... game of all time" from Gabe and Tycho, it's probably fair to expect not to number among its shortcomings things they've criticized before about other games.

Re:Do you expect Ebert to make awesome movies? (1)

jchenx (267053) | more than 7 years ago | (#18422601)

While it's not fair, probably, to expect "the greatest ... game of all time" from Gabe and Tycho, it's probably fair to expect not to number among its shortcomings things they've criticized before about other games.
Yes, that's a very valid point. I think that's why I still expect a fun game from them, one that I am satisfied with. I don't think that's too tall an order to fill. But something beyond that (ie. something incredibly innovative, or deep, or "best ever"), not so much. (Obviously I'll be pleasantly surprised if they do achieve that)

Re:Do you expect Ebert to make awesome movies? (1)

MaWeiTao (908546) | more than 7 years ago | (#18429015)

It's like that paradox where any person can tell describe to you how a person can look. They can easily spot facsimile, be it CGI or an illustration. However, ask someone to sit down and draw a realistic, physically accurate picture of a person. Anyone who hasn't had formal training or doesn't have an innate talent for drawing won't get it right. Does it make them unqualified to identify a real human?

Just because someone is incapable of doing a better job doesn't mean they aren't capable of identifying what takes to do a good job. Someone can understand intellectually what is required to produce a good movie but be unable to apply that understanding in a practical manner. Those can be two very different things.

PA merely 'involved' with other side of said fence (2, Insightful)

Crasty (1019258) | more than 7 years ago | (#18421397)

It's important to keep in mind that Gabe and Tycho (Mike and Jerry) are not actually writing a single line of code for the game. They are helping guide the creation of the game, but they really aren't development studio, and as such, they aren't really developing the title.

They are obviously going to have a good deal of input during the process, but to say "let's see how good a game they can make" is a bit silly.

It would be like saying that J.K. Rowling makes crappy movies if you don't like the Harry Potter series. While she very well may make crappy movies, she really didn't make the Harry Potter movies.

Penny Arcade no, Megatokyo yes (0, Flamebait)

Animats (122034) | more than 7 years ago | (#18418619)

Penny Arcade is for people who don't get Megatokyo. [megatokyo.com]

Re:Penny Arcade no, Megatokyo yes (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#18418747)

I happen to read both. Your point?

Re:Penny Arcade no, Megatokyo yes (1)

nomadic (141991) | more than 7 years ago | (#18418769)

Penny Arcade is for people who don't get Megatokyo.

I get megatokyo fine. I used to read it until I realized that it was kind of really boring. So it got replaced by order of the stick [giantitp.com] .

Well as bad as megatokyo gets, at least it will never be as bad as user friendly. I have no idea how I ever enjoyed that travesty.

The weird thing is no matter how the lineup shuffles around, I always settle on three webcomics.

Re:Penny Arcade no, Megatokyo yes (1)

XenoRyet (824514) | more than 7 years ago | (#18419157)

The two are totally incomparable. Megatokyo hasn't been about games, or primarily focused on humor for how many years now? Not to mention the guy couldn't keep to a regular posting schedule to save his life.

Seriously, I don't care if he doesn't want to post mon/wed/fri, but don't pretend like you are going to, then whine about how much work you have to do when you consistently miss days. It's we'll be in summer by the time he's finished with this 8 page omake he's so excited about, yet seemingly can't bring himself to work on.

Anyway, now that that's out of my system, they really are two completely different styles of comic, directed at two different audiences.

Re:Penny Arcade no, Megatokyo yes (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#18419165)

What is there to "get"? Ever since Largo stopping working on it, Megatokyo has become exactly like that old joke comic that depicted what MT would be like if Piro had total control over it: a dating-sim inspired drama fest. There is no gaming humor left at all. It's a completely different beast from PA.

Re:Penny Arcade no, Megatokyo yes (2, Insightful)

drinkypoo (153816) | more than 7 years ago | (#18419953)

I'm sorry, I get it, I just think it's stupid. You're just going to have to accept that people have different tastes. P.S. If you're using your slashbot account to advertise a product, perhaps you should consider being more politic.

Doesn't do it for me... (0)

casualsax3 (875131) | more than 7 years ago | (#18418817)

As Gabe and Tycho are often proponents of the 2d / Oldschool style of gaming, I had hoped their game would be 2d or at least pseudo-2d like Paper Mario. The intro looks great, the 3d stuff just doesn't do it for me at all, and it was a big letdown to see that come on screen. It looks like someone through together Penny-Arcade inspired Quake 3 models. Hopefully the end game will look more like the 2d art we've come to love. That said, I'll reserve judgment until it's finished, and buy it either way because I like what they do (making me laugh Monday, Wednesday, and Friday - and ChildsPlay) and wish to support them.

Re:Doesn't do it for me... (1)

revlayle (964221) | more than 7 years ago | (#18419607)

Plus Gabe(Mike) did say they jumped the gun on the showing of the 3D graphics - it is in it's very early stages

Re:Doesn't do it for me... (1)

AcidLacedPenguiN (835552) | more than 7 years ago | (#18427137)

from their blog yesterday it seems that the models are in early stage and are missing their cell shading. It was also said that they included the 3d in the trailer just so that people wouldn't think it was an entirely 2d game.

With that said I'll be in line to support them as well.

It must be done. (4, Funny)

Rob T Firefly (844560) | more than 7 years ago | (#18418991)

The best tidbit: You'll be able to make your own PA-style character to fight alongside the boys. Good form.
Cel-shaded Jack Thompson in 3... 2...

That's not the best tidbit! Mac Compat! (2, Informative)

Tragek (772040) | more than 7 years ago | (#18420335)

Best tidbit? I disagree: Mac compatibility is the best tidbit.
Finally, an awesome mac game. That's not WOW.

PA (2, Interesting)

Borg453b (746808) | more than 7 years ago | (#18423303)

I've been a PA reader and a PVPonline reader for a couple of years now. Kurtz dropped his game references long ago, except for his occasional mentioning of WOW. His characters run a gaming mag - yet they never mention games anymore..(?).

Tycho and Gabe still do a lot of game references - but recently, its been console only.. and I was saddened to se no mentioning of the one most acclaimed PC games of recent time ( winning PC game of the year 2006 at Gamespot and doing exceptionally well in most reviews): Company of Heroes. That game has changed the RTS genre.. and should be reason enough for people to get back in front of their monitors and realize that gaming is not all Zelda, Tekken and Final fantasy.

I felt more intune with the PA crew, back in their Tribes days - but i still admire and respect them. I just wish they're metion some pc games, now and again (other than WOW).

Their gametrailer looks sweet.

Re:PA (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#18427441)

They're Mac users now. Of course they don't play PC games. :(
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