LucasArts made their games easier than Sierra by making them more difficult?

Talk about games or general tech issues that are not Sierra related.
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Tawmis
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LucasArts made their games easier than Sierra by making them more difficult?

Post by Tawmis » Wed Oct 14, 2020 1:24 am

So as previously mentioned, I began playing Indiana Jones and the Fate of Atlantis. Just playing it off and on, probably don't spend more than 20 or 30 minutes on it when I am playing.

Perhaps because I am used to Sierra games, especially back in the day you had to type everything - I feel like LucasArts may have made the game more difficult by simplifying it. Because I am limited to the base commands it as at the left. There's instances where I've done something and I am not sure it did anything, because the game gives no response. For example, after you get the kerosene lantern (which was a pain to figure out), and you try to use it on the spiral thing in the temple - it just says, "It won't pour out."

So I thought, "Open" and then click lantern. No response. So I figure nothing's happened. So I fly around a few times to the different places, see if anything's changed - and eventually fly back, and on a weird whim, try the lantern on the spiral thing, and it goes, "Ah ha! I've loosened it!"

Wait. So when I said open lantern it actually did something? Would have been good to have a response of something like, "Well, I've got it open - now what?" or something. Would have saved a ton of money (had it mattered) flying all around to try and figure out what I am missing.

Also, tricky how you have to revisit the rooms you see in the introduction, to pick up items, when it's officially started and moved you out of those rooms. Felt like those rooms were just a "teaching lesson" on how the game works and credit screens.

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Re: LucasArts made their games easier than Sierra by making them more difficult?

Post by Rath Darkblade » Wed Oct 14, 2020 6:56 am

Hmm. "Fate of Atlantis" was always a rather difficult game, even with the limited choice of verbs you can use. :)

Just wait until you get the Dialogue of Plato. You will then have a choice of which path to follow - and each path will have its own puzzles! Three games in one - huzzah! ;)

Seriously, the LucasArts games of that period all used the same limited choice of verbs. Just think of games like "Maniac Mansion", "Zak McCracken and the Alien Mindbenders", etc.

(Links to images, just to illustrate what LucasArts were up to in those days). ;)

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Re: LucasArts made their games easier than Sierra by making them more difficult?

Post by DeadPoolX » Wed Oct 14, 2020 5:42 pm

The limited number of verbs was part of their interface called SCUMM (Script Creation Utility for Maniac Mansion) and it was designed to make playing the game more fun and less of a "guess what word the developer was thinking of when they designed this game" situation.

SCUMM also made things easier for those who didn't speak English or at least might know it as a second or third language. The old Sierra interface that required typing was pretty hard for people in other non-English-speaking countries unless their knowledge of English was really, really good.

Apparently, Sierra must've thought the basic idea was sound, given that they later went to the point-and-click interface.
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Re: LucasArts made their games easier than Sierra by making them more difficult?

Post by Tawmis » Wed Oct 14, 2020 6:39 pm

DeadPoolX wrote:
Wed Oct 14, 2020 5:42 pm
The limited number of verbs was part of their interface called SCUMM (Script Creation Utility for Maniac Mansion) and it was designed to make playing the game more fun and less of a "guess what word the developer was thinking of when they designed this game" situation.

SCUMM also made things easier for those who didn't speak English or at least might know it as a second or third language. The old Sierra interface that required typing was pretty hard for people in other non-English-speaking countries unless their knowledge of English was really, really good.

Apparently, Sierra must've thought the basic idea was sound, given that they later went to the point-and-click interface.
Oh, I am still enjoying the game. But there's parts where not being able to type what I think needs to be done takes some getting used to. I agree, that it does make it easier, especially for non English speakers. I mentioned before, way, way, way back when I was first into Sierra, and it was all typing - it literally helped me learn how to type and spell. And when they switched to the mouse interface, I wrote them a strongly worded letter. But then, many, many years after that, I saw how it benefited non English people, or even kids.

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Re: LucasArts made their games easier than Sierra by making them more difficult?

Post by DeadPoolX » Wed Oct 14, 2020 7:24 pm

Tawmis wrote:
Wed Oct 14, 2020 6:39 pm
DeadPoolX wrote:
Wed Oct 14, 2020 5:42 pm
The limited number of verbs was part of their interface called SCUMM (Script Creation Utility for Maniac Mansion) and it was designed to make playing the game more fun and less of a "guess what word the developer was thinking of when they designed this game" situation.

SCUMM also made things easier for those who didn't speak English or at least might know it as a second or third language. The old Sierra interface that required typing was pretty hard for people in other non-English-speaking countries unless their knowledge of English was really, really good.

Apparently, Sierra must've thought the basic idea was sound, given that they later went to the point-and-click interface.
Oh, I am still enjoying the game. But there's parts where not being able to type what I think needs to be done takes some getting used to. I agree, that it does make it easier, especially for non English speakers. I mentioned before, way, way, way back when I was first into Sierra, and it was all typing - it literally helped me learn how to type and spell. And when they switched to the mouse interface, I wrote them a strongly worded letter. But then, many, many years after that, I saw how it benefited non English people, or even kids.
Yeah, there's a part of me that really liked the text parser interface, but what used to really annoy me was that the line between typing in an action or behavior and talking was blurred. Often in games you'd type for your character to do something, but at times they'd also expect you to literally answer a question asked by another character by typing. It was weird.
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Re: LucasArts made their games easier than Sierra by making them more difficult?

Post by MusicallyInspired » Wed Oct 14, 2020 8:12 pm

Usually inventory items will change images to show that something changed (like opening the lantern). In that specific case I don't think it did, but if you hover over it the hotspot text would indicate a change. Either that or if you looked at it it would note the change. I seem to remember some kind of indication anyway. That type of thing was a holdover from earlier SCUMM games that didn't yet implement such indications very obviously but longtime players would intuitively understand how it worked and knew what to look for. Later games had either sound effects, dialogue lines, or changes in the inventory image to show such a change more prominently.
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